Gratification: Justice Ademola, wife, hire separate topflight lawyers to battle FG, get N100m bail


  • Drama as FG arraigns Justice Ademola, wife

Two months after he was arrested, in a blitzkrieg manner, by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), the Federal Government on Tuesday arraigned suspended Federal High Court judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola and his wife Olabowale, the Head of Service of Lagos State on a joint 11-count charge bordering on gratification, illegal possession of firearms and live ammunitions.

But the couple, Mr and Mrs Ademola pleaded not guilty to the charge.

They had hired separate topflight lawyers to handle the case for them

Prominent member of the inner bar, Dr Oyinyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) is leading a battery of lawyers representing Justice Ademola in court while a Lagos-based silk, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) is leading another team of lawyers representing Mrs Olabowale Ademola in the case.

Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory presided over the case on Tuesday.

Even though the couple hired some of the best lawyers in the country, they were not too comfortable in the court room, before, during and after their arraignment, on Tuesday as they were either covering their faces with their phones and hands or burying same in their palms.

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Drama ensued Thursday while they were waiting in court for their arraignment, photojournalists who had bombarded the court premises were targeting the judge for his shot and that of the wife.

Although they were protected by minions of the law and the court staff, the photojournalists would not allow them be.

It would be recalled that many newspaper houses had been using, albeit erroneously, the photograph of the first indigenous CJN, late Justice Adetokunbo Ademola for illustration in newspapers for Justice Ademola.

The family of the late CJN had expressed displeasure over the development and pleaded with the media to allow late Justic Ademola continue to sleep in peace.

On Tuesday, the photojournalists were therefore determined to get Justice Ademola’s real picture but both Justice Ademola and the wife frustrated journalists Tuesday as can be seen above.

But soon after their pleas were taken, counsel to Justice Ademola (the first defendant), Dr. Onyinyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) informed the court of a motion on notice dated and filed on December 8, 2016 for the bail of the first defendant and urged the court to grant it.

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Counsel to Olabowale (the second defendant), Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), moved a similar bail application on behalf of his client.

Prosecution counsel, Segun Jegede said he was not opposing the bail applications.

“In principle, we are not objecting to the applications. However, I implore your lordship to impose such conditions that will make the defendants attend their trials”, he said.

He referred the court to Section 162 of the ACJA as conditions for granting the bail.

He said they must not attempt to evade trial nor try to influence, interfere with or intimidate witnesses. And they must also not attempt to conceal or destroy evidence.

He urged that they be made to deposit their passports and other travel documents with the court registry until the case is concluded.

However, Ikpeazu urged the court not to go beyond the conditions of the administrative bail earlier granted to the first defendant by the complainant.

He said the conditions include bail on self-recognizance. And that the complainant did not require the first defendant to deposit his passport or other documents as condition for the administrative bail. He referred the court to Section 165(1), 167(2) of the ACJA.

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He said the first defendant would enter an undertaking to make himself available for the trial in the same manner he availed himself for the arraignment.

Clarke aligned himself with the submission of Ikpeazu but added that the 2nd defendant being the substantive Head of Service of the Lagos State government, carries a huge amount of responsibility not just within the country but outside it.

He said asking for her passport to be deposited may hugely hinder her duty which involves travelling out of the country for conferences.

He said the court may however ask her to enter into an undertaking to remove any iota of doubt.

Justice Okeke ruled that each defendant is granted bail on self-recognizance in the sum of N50m and each of the defendants should deposit their international passport with the court registry pending the determination of the suit.