The Supreme Court yesterday ordered that Chief Kunle Kalejaye (SAN) should be relisted on the register of legal practitioners in the country.
The apex court also ordered that the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) should be restored to him.
Kalejaiye was delisted from the lawyers’ register at the Supreme Court and stripped of the SAN’s rank by the Legal Practitioners and Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) in 2015 over an alleged professional misconduct.
LPDC took the decision following an allegation that he exchanged text messages with an election tribunal judge, Thomas Naron, during the election litigation between former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State and the state’s immediate past governor, Rauf Aregbesola.
Kalejaye, who was counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and then governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, faced an inquiry over the alleged conduct since 2008 when a series of text messages between him and the judge were said to be have become public knowledge.
But the apex court in a judgment delivered by Justice Cletus Nweze upheld Kalejaye’s appeal, as it held that the trial procedure at the LDPC was erroneous.
While reversing the decision of the LPDC, the Supreme Court held that the constitution of the committee which handed down the sanction, breached Kalejaye’s right to fair hearing.
Justice Nweze, who read the lead judgment, explained that some members of the LPDC who signed the report were not part of the investigation.
According to Nweze, the failure of some members of the LPDC to participate in the trial but contribute in the final judgment of the panel, was a breach of the appellant’s right to fair hearing.
In the notice of appeal filed by Kalejaye’s legal team, led by Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), the appellant raised eight grounds.
The appellant contended that the LPDC erred in law and facts, denied him fair hearing and that its verdict “is against the weight of evidence.”.