Confessional statements not obtained under duress, judge tells Evans co-defendants

Justice Hakeem Oshodi of an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, has admitted in evidence the confessional statements of two co-defendants of alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, over the alleged kidnap of Dunu, Chief Executive Officer, Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited.

Ruling on trial-within-trial held on the admissibility of their confessional statements, Justice Oshodi held that they were not obtained under duress or tortured during the process of obtaining a statement as claimed by them.

The trial judge held that defence counsel of Chilaka Ifeanyi (fourth defendant) and Victor Aduba, fourth and sixth defendants respectively, did not provide sufficient proof to the court that they were coerced into giving the statements.

Evans is standing trial alongside five accomplices; Uche Amadi, Okechukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Victor Chukwunonso Aduba and a woman, Ogechi Uchechukwu.

They were arraigned on August 30, 2017, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Donatus Dunu before Justice Oshodi

They were alleged to have collected 223,000 Euro (N100m) as ransom from his family.

“None of the defendants have been able to provide any evidence to suggest any sign of diuresis during this processing.

“The fact is that the fourth and sixth defence counsels, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajanaoku and O. Emmanuel respectively, did not raise the issue of a gun being pointed to the heads of their clients nor the issue of a broken finger during the cross-examination of the prosecution witness, and this leads to the conclusion that these speculations were an afterthought.

“The statement of the fourth defendant will be marked as Exhibit 8 and 8a while the statement of the sixth defendant is marked as Exhibit 9,” the judge ruled.

In reaction to the ruling of the court, the state prosecutor, Yakubu D. Osuala, thereafter asked the court for an adjournment for the continuation of trial.

The matter was further adjourned till January 10, 2020, for the continuation of trial.

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