Judge Stops Counsel From Standing As Surety

A judge of the Lagos State Special Offences Court has stopped a defence counsel from standing as surety for a rape suspect. Justice O.A Nwaka during the hearing into the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl, on Tuesday, rejected the defence counsel, N. Aniforo, as surety for the suspect, Solomon Deri.

The judge had learned from the court records that the defence counsel was one of the sureties the suspect presented in meeting his bail conditions.

“I wouldn’t have approved such a bail. Is he related to you?”, the judge inquired from the counsel.

She added: “I don’t know why you (the counsel) want to put your career at risk. If he jumps bail, I cannot issue an arrest against a lawyer. Why do you want to tie the hands of the court?”

The counsel, Aniforo responded: “My decision to stand as one of the sureties speaks volume of the confidence I have in the suspect; he is innocent of the alleged offence.” She added that the suspect is a member of the church she attends and, as her surety, she would easily present him in court whenever he is needed.

Unconvinced by the counsel’s argument, Justice Nwaka revoked the earlier bail granted the defendant and issued a fresh one. She also ordered the suspect’s remand in prison pending when he was able to meet his bail conditions. The judge adjourned till May 28.

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