Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja yesterday dismissed the claims of Kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, that he was tortured by the men 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 voluntary.
According to the judge, there was no proof before the court to substantiate the accused person 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 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 has not provided evidence of any inducement, threat or promised in the trial-within-trial.
“The court is not unmindful that the first defendant said he was slapped, cigarettes extinguished on his hands and saw people being murdered by the police.
“The allegation that the police murdered some people is a criminal allegation that he did not prove, there is no blood seen in the video. The first defendant did not give any evidence as to the treatment of the injuries he sustained.
“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 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.
“The witness sustained injury in an accident and he is still recovering from the injury,” she said.
Mr Olanrewaju Ajanaku, Evans’ defence counsel had no objection to the request for an adjournment.
Justice Oshodi adjourned the case until February 22 for continuation of the evidence of Haruna and trial.
During the trial-within-trial held on October 26, 2018 Evans claimed that his alleged confessional statement to the police was not obtained voluntarily.
The alleged kidnap kingpin alleged that police officers tortured him and made him witness executions in a bid to get him to admit to his crimes.
Evans, is standing trial alongside Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
The six were arraigned on Aug 30, 2017 on two counts of conspiracy and kidnap of of the Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited, Donatus Dunu, from whose family they allegedly collected 223,000 Euro (N100m) as ransom.
Evans and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.