The lawyer representing suspected kidnapper Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (alias Evans), Olukoya Ogungbeje, Wednesday alleged that his client was forced to plead guilty.
In a statement issued after Evans pleaded guilty at his arraignment, the lawyer said his client would change his plea to not guilty when the case comes up for trial.
Ogungbeje said Evans was denied access to his lawyers and had no opportunity of being properly advised on what plea to make.
He said the charge was served on Evans in open court on Wednesday.
“It must be noted that our client had been in police custody since 10th of June 2017 till date and his lawyer and family members have been denied access to him.
“His arraignment was brought to our attention through the social media platform. We rushed to court in a bid to confer with our client before the commencement of proceedings but the Police denied us access to him.
“We sought for adjournment to enable us confer with our client in line with the provisions of Section 36(6) (2) of the Constitution but same was turned down by the court.
“Moreso, the information/charge sheet was served on us in open court on the same day of arraignment,” he said.
According to Ogungbeje, his client informed him of his intention to change his plea.
“After the purported guilty plea of our client and the court rose, our client told us clearly that the police told him to plead guilty failing which the police will kill him.
“This is definitely unconstitutional and we intend to challenge this unconstitutional procedure of hoodwinking, unduly influencing, brainwashing and coercing an accused into entering a guilty plea against his wish and freewill.
“Our client pointedly told us that being informed now, he will change his ‘police motivated guilty plea’ to ‘not guilty’ at the next adjourned date.
“It is settled law that plea of guilty must be made voluntarily and devoid of any influence, coercion and manipulation.
“We have a responsibility to assist the cause of justice in accordance with the law,” Ogungbeje said.