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Evans the Billionaire Kidnapper’s Co-Defendant Dies in Custody, Witnesses to Testify Online out of Fear

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Evans: Scared witnesses can testify online, court rules - Vanguard News
By Uche Amunike
Chiemeka Arinze, Co-defendant to Evans, the Billionaire Kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, has just died in prison custody, after falling into a coma, says his lawyer, Ogedi Ogu .
Recall that Evans the billionaire kidnapper is standing trial with Joseph Emeka, Udeme Upong and the deceased Chiemeka Arinze over the attempted kidnap of the Chairman of the Young Shall Grow Motors, Chief Vincent Obianodo, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
Mr Ogu, Monday, explained that his client, Chiemeka Arinze, aged 45 was rushed to a hospital from the Kirikuri Correctional Center on Thursday, but by the time he visited him on Friday he was in a coma even till around 4pm, when he left. He was to receive a call by 9pm later that night, only to be informed that his client had passed on.
According to him, the doctors said that they would run some tests to ascertain the cause of his death and that the results will come out on Saturday.
In response, the judge, Oluwatoyin Taiwo stated that the court was already in possession of Mr Arinze’s death certificate.
His words: ‘The death certificate here says the cause of death is cardiopulmonary arrest and the secondary cause is HIV; It is from the Ajeromi General Hospital’.
While describing Mr Arinze’s death as unfortunate, the judge stressed that the trial must go on and asked other defense counsels to adopt their written addresses on a trial-within-trial in the case. After other defense counsels adopted the written addresses, the case was adjourned to December 17 for further hearing and ruling.
Until his death, Chiemeka Arinze alongside Evans the billionaire kidnapper and Udeme Ukpong were facing a 7 count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap and sale and transfer of firearms.
A source who pleaded anonymity said that the late defendant’s counsel had filed a bail application last week before the court over the medical condition of the descendant. He also said that the trial was supposed to have commenced on Monday when the bail application was slated to have been heard. Unfortunately, information about the death of the defendant came.
The death certificate which was issued by Ajeromi General Hospital, Ajegunle and signed by doctor B.E. Salisu, stated that the late Mr Arinze died at the age of 45 and was also suffering from complicated advanced HIV.
Still on this case, Justice Taiwo granted permission to two witnesses who pleaded to testify online in the ongoing case against Evans the billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudimeme Onuamadike.
This was after the state prosecutor, Ms. S. O Fashola applied that the two witnesses be heard virtually because they were scared for their lives and that of their families.
The judge ruled that the court was satisfied with the cogent reasons given by the prosecution for the witnesses to be given virtual hearing.
This was Justice Taiwo’s submission to the plea for granting audio-visual hearing to the witnesses: ‘This court is satisfied that the prosecution has given cogent reasons why Section 210 of the Evidence Act 2011 and Section 200(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law as amended should avail the prosecution’.
‘It is stated on the affidavit that the witnesses are concerned for their lives and that of their families and they now live outside the jurisdiction of the court’.
‘In the light of this and in the interest of justice and expedite action, I hereby grant the application as prayed’.
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