Court admits Evans’ confessional statement, dismisses torture claims

Crime

Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has dismissed claims by kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, that he was tortured by operatives of the Police Inspector-General’s Intelligence Response Team and the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) after his arrest.

Justice Oshodi dismissed the claim while ruling on a trial within trial proceedings to determine whether the extra-judicial statements made by Evans were made voluntarily.

According to the judge, there was no proof before the court to substantiate the accused person’s claims of torture while making the confessional statements.

The court further maintained that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made no requirement that statements to the police must be in a specific form.

He also noted that based on the evidence of Evans’ videotaped confession played in the court on October 26, 2018, there was no proof that Evans was tortured to provide details of his alleged misdeeds.

The Judge held, “In the video that was played in open court, the first defendant was cautioned and he signed a word of caution, when he was asked his profession he said he was a businessman, he said so with a smile.

“In the video the first defendant asked the investigating police officer to write his statement on his behalf, the first defendant sat on a sofa and after the recording of the statement, the first defendant signed.

“In the video, the court cannot see any coercion directed at the first defendant.

When the witness for the prosecution was cross-examined, he categorically stated that the first defendant was not tortured when his statement was taken,” he stated

The judge also held that the accused person did not provide any evidence to court to back the allegations of extra- judicial killings he made against the police.

“The first defendant did not contradict any part of the video played. There is no proof that the statement was made involuntarily, the statement is admitted and marked Exhibit B,” he said.

After the ruling, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, urged the court for an adjournment due to the absence of the fourth prosecution witness, Insp Idowu Haruna.

She said: “My Lord, unfortunately the prosecution witness is not in court and we will have to ask for an adjournment.

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