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Evans Loses Bid To Quash Kidnapping Charge

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The bid by alleged kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, to quash the charges filed against him by the Lagos State government, was yesterday dismissed by Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the State High Court sitting in Igbosere for lacking in meri.

Justice Akintoye, who dismissed the two applications to quash the kidnapping charges, held that the charges against the defendants are, “not defective and are not an abuse of court processes “. Evans, through his lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, had contended that the counts in the charges and the proof of evidence before the court, does not disclose any prima facie case against him.

The State, through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the first charges, is accusing Evans of conspiracy to kidnapping, kidnapping and attempted murder. Evans was charged alongside three others persons in the five court charge, they are: Joseph Ikenna Emeka, Victor Aduba and Okapara Linus.

The offences committed, which bother on Conspiracy, are contrary to section 411 criminal law Cap C 17, Vol 13, of Lagos State 2015, Kidnapping contrary to section 271 (3) and counts three to five, attempted murder contrary to section 230 (A) Cap C17, of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015. In the second charge, Evans, was charged alongside Joseph Ikenna Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.

They were charged on two-count of conspiracy to kidnapping, contrary to section 411, Cap C17, Vol 3 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015 and kidnapping contrary to section 271 (3), of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
It will be recalled that Evans is also facing three separate charges brought against him by the Lagos State government before Justice Hakeem Oshodi and Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the same court.

In her ruling on Thursday, Justice Akintoye held that based on the proof of evidence before the court, issue for determination was whether a prima facie case has been established against the defendants. The judge stated that a prima facie case is established where the court finds that there are grounds for proceedings, adding that the proof of evidence must sufficiently link the defendant to the offence allegedly committed.
She held, “Looking closely at the proof of evidence attached to the information in this case, a prima facie case has clearly been disclosed against the defendant, applicant.”
The court noted that the victim in the instant case, Uche Okereafor’s wife, was the person who paid the ransom, adding that the statement of the first defendant (Evans) himself, alleged that the first defendant was the master mind and gang leader of the group.
Justice Akintoye stated, “Other defendants participated in several kidnappings and shared the ransom collected from their victims.
“The third defendant (Ugochukwu Nwachukwu) in his own statement and proof of evidence, showed that he is a member of the gang and shared in the ransom collected from victims.

“I hold therefore that the proof of evidence disclosed a prima facie case against the first and third defendants,” the court held.
The judge further maintained that the charge filed against the defendants were not defective based on the provisions of Section 152 and 153 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State, 2015.
She said, “It is my view that the prosecution has complied with provisions of this section in view that every offence shall be charged separately.
“I also hold that the charge is not an abuse of court process, an abuse of court process means that the process of the court has not been properly and voluntarily followed.
“The defendant argued that the prosecution has filed similar charges against the defendants in other Lagos State High Courts but the prosecution has shown in the proof of evidence, that the victims and defendants are not the same in each case.
“I hold that the charge presently constituted is not an abuse of court process, therefore cannot be quashed,” the court held.
Justice Akintoye also said that the court does not have the power and the jurisdiction to quash the charge before the close of the prosecution’s case.

“I don’t believe that the court has the power to quash the charge before the close of the prosecution’s case as in the clear wordings of Section 262 of ACJL, such application is premature and cannot be sustained.
“The defendant must wait until the close of the prosecution’s case before applying for any charge to be quashed.
“I therefore hold that the defendant’s application to quash the charge levelled against them is hereby refused and dismissed,” Akintoye ruled.

She also said that the same fate is applicable to the second defendant (Joseph Emeka) who urged the court to expunge his name from the charge stating that no prima facie case was made against him.
The judge said that the proof of evidence proved that a prima facie case has been established against him.
Justice Akintoye said that the court found no merit in the second defendant’s application and thereby dismissed it.

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