Court Admits Evans’ Extra-judicial statement As Exhibit

Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on Wednesday admitted in evidence the extra-judicial statement of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans.

Justice Akintoye admitted the confessional statement while ruling at the end of a trial within trial, which she ordered to determine the voluntariness of the statement made by Evan’s to the police during investigation.

Evans had on January 16, 2019 told the court that his confessional statement after his arrest sometime in 2017, was made under duress.

He stated that he signed the papers given to him by the police with fear not to be tortured to death.

But the judge held in the ruling that the test of voluntariness of a statement cannot be determined by a procedural law, which the defendant relied on, but by the provisions of the evidence act which is the instant law that regulates the admissibility of a statement.

The court further noted that the defendant admitted, during trial within trial, that while he was making his confessional statement, there were no chains on his legs and no knife was held over his head.

She held, “Once the basic requirements in obtaining statements from an accused person has been followed and no injustice can be said to have been caused to the defendant,  the rules of evidence requires that the statement will be relevant and admissible in law.

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“I consider the allegations of duress made by the defendant as an afterthought, however,  non of the allegations made by the defendant was proved by him.

“Having considered the evidence before the court and having the opportunity to hear the witnesses, I have no reason to doubt the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

“I therefore hold that the prosecution has established the voluntariness of the statement sought to be tendered.

“Therefore,  the argument of the learned counsel for the first defendant in these issues are hereby discountenanced.

“The end result is that the five page statement of the first defendant sought to be tendered as exhibit is hereby admitted as exhibit,” Justice Akintoye held.

Evans is currently facing two separate charges of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, before the court.

In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.

In the second charge, he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.

After the ruling on the admissibility of Evan’s confessional statement, counsel to the third defendant (Linus Opara), John Jiakponna, told the court that he was yet to get the Certified True Copy of the medical report of his client.

The medical report was however shown to all the counsel.

Jiakponna,  consequently,  asked for an adjournment to enable him file a better and further affidavit to seek bail for the third defendant.

Jiakponna had asked the court to make an order asking the medical director of Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison,  to issue a medical report on the state of health of his client.

The counsel had claimed that Opara had a failed operation in prison which might require treatment at an outside hospital.

After listening to him, Justice Akintoye adjourned the case until November 28 for further hearing.

20th June 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph