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Cynthia Osokogu: Court forecloses defendant’s right to file final address


An Igbosere High Court sitting on Lagos Island has foreclosed the right of a defendant, Olisaeloka Ezike, to file his final written address in the trial of the four men who allegedly murdered Cynthia Osokogu in Lagos after being lured by a Facebook lover.

‎The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Osokogu was allegedly murdered on July 22, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lakeview Estate, Festac Town, Lagos, by her Facebook lover.
Ezike, the second defendant, is standing trial alongside Okwumo Nwabufo, 33; Olisaeloka Ezike, 23; Orji Osita, 33, and Ezike Nonso, 25, over the murder.
They are facing trial on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, murder, stealing, reckless negligence and possession of stolen goods.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Justice Olabisi Akinlade ordered the prosecutor, Mrs. Bola Akinsete, a Lagos State senior counsel, to file her reply to the final written addresses of all the defendants.
The judge gave this order following the delay by the ‎second defendant’s counsel in filing his final written address, after several adjournments had been given by the judge to file the address.
Justice 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 to file his written address. Since the defence closed its case, 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 his right to file the final written address. The prosecution should therefore file her reply to the final addresses.’’
However, the judge adjourned the case to December 8 for adoption of the final written addresses.
Earlier, the prosecutor had urged the court to foreclose the right of the second defendant from filing his final written address to enable her to file her reply on the addresses.
“Since the last adjournment on June 8, despite the order of your lordship for the second defendant to file his final written address, he has refused to comply.
“I, therefore, urge Your Lordship to foreclose his right to filing ‎the address to enable us make progress in this case,’’ Akinsete said.
NAN recalls that Akinlade had, at the last adjournment on June 8, expressed displeasure over the delay of the second defence counsel in filing his final written address.
Akinlade, however, threatened to award a substantial cost to the second defendant over his failure to do so.
According to the judge, the defence counsel was delaying the case which was of interest to the public.
She said people have the notion that the court is using delay tactics to prolong the case, whereas the delay is being caused by the defendant’s counsel.
The prosecutor said the 25-year-old Osokogu, who was resident in Abuja, was lured to Lagos before she was killed.
The offences violated sections 221, 249, 285 and 327 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. (NAN)