I am not going to wait indefinitely, says judge
After several delays in the ongoing trial of the suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu, a Lagos High Court, yesterday, closed the right of the second defendant, Ezike Olisaeloka, to file his final address.
The trial judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, said the order became necessary in the interest of justice and the rule of law.
Cynthia Osokogu was murdered on July 22, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, Festac Town, Lagos, by her Facebook lover.
The defendants who were accused of the murder, are Okwumo Nwabufo, 33; Olisaeloka Ezike, 23; Orji Osita, 33, and Ezike Nonso, 25.
They are facing a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, stealing, reckless negligence and possession of stolen goods.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Justice Akinlade, ordered the prosecution, Mrs. Bola Akinshete, to file her reply to final written addresses of the defendants.
The judge observed that the court has given enough time for the second defendant to file his written address but despite several adjournments he refused to do so.
Akinlade: “Said I am not going to wait indefinitely for the second defendant’s counsel to file his final written address, it is on record that the court has given the second defendant several opportunities for him to file his written address since June 16 at the last adjourned date up till now he has been unable to file.
“It is obvious that the counsel is not ready to file his final written address, I hereby foreclose the right of the second defendant to file his final written address and order the prosecution to file her reply on the final written addresses.”
However, the judge adjourned the case to December 8, for adoption of the final written addresses.
Earlier, the prosecution urged the court to foreclose the right of the second defendant from filing his final written address to enable her file her reply on the defendants.
Akinshete said: “Since June 16, 2016, despite the order of your lordship for the second defendant to file his final written address he has refused to file. I therefore urge your lordship to foreclose his right to filing the address to enable us make progress in this matter.”
Justice Akinlade at the last adjourned date on June 8, 2016, expressed displeasure over the delay of second defence counsel in filing his final written address and threatened to award a substantial cost to the second defendant over failure to file.
The court had accused the defence counsel of intentionally delaying the case, which she said, is of interest to the public.
She said people always think that it is the court that is delaying the matter, not knowing that it is the defendants’ counsel.
The prosecution said the 25-year-old Osokogu, who was resident in Abuja, was lured to Lagos, where she was killed.
The offences committed are punishable under sections 221, 249, 285 and 327 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.