The ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged murder suspect of Super Television Chief Executive Officer, Usifo Ataga, was stalled yesterday due to the absence of her counsel, Mr. Onwuka Egwu.
The former 300-level Mass Communication undergraduate of the University of Lagos is standing trial on a nine-count charge bordering on murder, forgery and stealing preferred against her by the Lagos State Government.
She is also charged alongside one Adedapo Quadri and her sister, Chioma Egbuchu.
At the resumed hearing, the prosecution counsel, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Adenike Oluwafemi, informed the court that she got a message from Ojukwu’s counsel that he was ill.
She said the counsel also mentioned that his junior lawyers would not be able to appear in the case due to their engagement in other court matters.
Oluwafemi, however, told the court that her own witness, who was to give evidence, was present in court.
The second and third defendants counsel, Mr. Babatunde Busari and Miss P. O. Okpagbo, were present but did not oppose the counsel absence.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya, however, adjourned the case until June 8 for continuation of trial.
At the last sitting, the court had ruled on the admissibility of the first defendant’s confessional statements.
Justice Adesanya admitted Ojukwu’s statements in evidence.
She said the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the statements were voluntarily made.
Chidinma, who is on trial for allegedly killing Ataga, along with her sister, Chioma
Egbuchu, and another person, Adedapo Quadri, is also accused of stealing and forging documents.
The defendants were arraigned on October 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred against them by the Lagos State Government.
Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, and stabbing, while the third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count of stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired to murder Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife in the neck and chest.
The alleged murder took place at No 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos.