A Lagos High Court in Tafawa Balewa Square, Monday, adjourned till May 23 the trial of an undergraduate, Chidinma Ojukwu, charged with murdering Usifo Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV. Ms Ojukwu is standing trial for the alleged murder, stealing, and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that at the last proceeding on May 12, the trial could not go on, due to a change of counsel by the third defendant (Ms Egbuchu).
The new counsel, Ngozi Akandu, had asked that more eligible documents be served on him as well as more time to enable him to get acquainted with the proof of evidence. However, when the matter was called up on Monday, Mr Akandu filed another application, praying the court to vacate the trial dates already fixed. The new counsel told the court that he had yet to receive the proof of evidence from the prosecution counsel and the Office of the Public Defender (former counsel for his client). “I have no facilities to render services to the third defendant. I, therefore, apply that today’s date and other dates already fixed be vacated. “This is because I have seen the volume of documents from other counsel; it is not something someone can read in a day,” he said. Counsel for the first defendant, Onwuka Egwu, did not object to the application, noting that the proof of evidence was about 400 pages. Counsel for the second defendant, Babatunde Busari, however, said: “I will concede to the adjournment for today; I will object that other dates be vacated because it took a lot of bending backwards to choose the dates.” In her response, the prosecution counsel and Deputy Director for Public Prosecutions, Lagos State, Adenike Oluwafemi, said Mr Akandu did not go to the OPD to collect the documents as scheduled. She objected to the application by counsel for the third defendant to vacate other dates and informed the court that the prosecution witness was in court. However, the judge, Yetunde Adesanya, in a short ruling, vacated only Monday’s date and adjourned until May 23 for the continuation of the trial.(NAN)