- Lawyer blasts police, says Evans ‘ll plead not guilty in October
- Says his client is innocent
Controversial Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, on Wednesday dismissed the plea of guilty entered by billionaire kidnapper, Mr Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, before an Ikeja high court in Lagos, saying his client was actually innocent but that the police forced him to plead guilty.
Evans as well as two of the five suspects arraigned with him, pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of kidnapping and conspiracy brought against them.
Those arraigned with him were — Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachuckwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwunonso Aduba.
The trial judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, had remanded all of them in Kirikiri prison and adjourned the matter till October 19.
However, Ogunbeje said the plea would be changed to not guilty at the next court sitting.
“The information/charge sheet was served on us in open court hence, the need to confer with our client to enable us avail ourselves with the constitutional right of adequate time and facility to put up our defence,” Ogungbeje said in a statement.
“The court, after turning down our plea for adjournment, immediately ordered that the counts in the charge be read to him and others despite our plea for the adjournment to enable us confer with our client in accordance with the law.
“After the purported guilty plea of our client and the court rose, we stressed to have brief discussion time with our client and he told us clearly that the police told him to plead guilty failure to which they would kill him.
“This is definitely unconstitutional and we intend to challenge this unconstitutional procedure for hoodwinking, brainwashing and coercion of an accused into entering a guilty plea against his wish and free will.
“He pointedly told us that now that he has informed us, he will change his police-motivated guilty plea to not guilty at the next adjourned date.
“It is settled law that plea of guilty must be made voluntary and direct devoid of any influence, coercion and manipulation.
“In the meantime, after our brief conferring with our client in open court, he made it known to us that he will change his police motivated guilty plea to ‘not guilty’ at the next adjourned date.”