Adebisi Adeniyi, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday accused Olayinka Bolanle, lawyer of the first accused in the alleged N8 billion currency scam case of disrespecting the court.
Kolawole Babalola, the first accused, Muniru Olaniran, the second accused and Kayode Togun, third accused, along with others have since 2015 been facing multiple charges bordering on stealing and recirculation of N8 billion at Ibadan office of CBN.
Adeniyi alleged that the defence counsel has been deliberately absenting himself from defending his client in court, thereby stalling the trial.
Criticising the conduct of Bolanle, Adeniyi implored Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, the trial judge, to impose a fine on defaulting lawyers.
He said, “My lord, this idea of treating the court with disdain should not be encouraged because one of the professional duty of any counsel is punctuality in court. When they go out there, they blame the judiciary and the prosecution for not ensuring justice.
“I can even cite many instances in which the court had adjourned this matter either at the instance of the first, second or the third accused persons.
“I can also remember that your lordship will no longer accommodate counsel who are not diligent in coming to court on time; counsel who have by their conducts shown that they don’t have respect for the constitution should not be allowed to continue here.
“You cannot be disrespecting the constitution at some instance and be relying on the same constitution for fair hearing at another instance.
“My lord, fair hearing is not only meant for the accused, the State is also entitled to fair hearing.
“The two witnesses we have in court today are from Abuja and they spent tax payers’ money on their trip.
“The defence counsel have for so long frustrated the smooth trial of this case.”
Justice Ayo-Emmanuel, in his ruling, said that he would not grant any further adjournment in the matter.
“In view of the series of adjournments that have been granted in this matter, I am not inclined to grant any further adjournment.
“When cases are fixed for hearing, counsel should take the opportunity to make themselves available in court,” the Judge ruled.