Usifo Ataga: Trial Stalled, Prosecution Yet To File Address In trial Within Trial Of Chidinma, others
The trial of the key suspect, Chidinma Ojukwu, in the murder of the Chief Executive Officer, Super TV, Usifo Ataga, failed to go on today before a Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square, owing to the failure of the prosecution to reply to the written address of the defence.
The prosecution in their defence however stated that the defendants counsel had served its written address on them during the festive season.
At the last sitting of the court on November 17, 2022, Justice Yetunde Adesanya had fixed today, January 11, 2023, for the adoption of written addresses of the prosecution and the defence in the trial within trial to ascertain if the statements made by Chidinma at the police station were voluntarily made and without duress.
The court fixed the date after Chidinma testified that she was slapped and the two statements she wrote at the police station were torn by the police officers who forced her to sign the ones written by them.
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Chidinma, who testified in her trial-within-trial in her own defence also gave the name of the police officers who forced her to sign against her will, to include an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Olusegun Bamidele, and another Olufunke Madeyinlo.
She also claimed that ASP Bamidele made her memorize the statement he wrote and narrate same to the state Commissioner of Police after tearing the statement she wrote.
At the resumed hearing of the case today, the Lagos state prosecuting counsel, Tolulope Onilado informed the court that they had just received service of the address from the defendant last week and so the matter could not go on.
Onilado said,” The first defendant’s address was served on us during the festive period. The address which was dated December 23, 2022, was served on the Attorney General’s office on December 30, and we only received service last week, but we have not replied.”
Chidinma’s lawyer also confirmed that the address dated December 23, 2022, as well as a Motion on Notice in support of the written address and a seven-paragraph affidavit were served on the prosecution.
Following these submissions, Justice Adesanya subsequently adjourned the case to February 13, for the adoption of written addresses.
An intriguing murder case
Chidinma is standing trial over the alleged murder of Ataga. She is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
The three defendants were arraigned on October 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred against them by Lagos State Government.
Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements, and stealing.
The third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count – stealing of an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
Ojukwu and Quadri are alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife in the neck and chest.
The alleged murder took place at 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
The duo were also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.