Olukoya Ogungbeje, the lawyer representing billionaire kidnapper Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans was awarded a cost of N20,000 by Justice Abdulazeez Anka of a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, Thursday 13th July 2017.
Ogungbeje was fined for professional misconduct as he failed to show up for the fundamental rights suit filed on behalf of Evans by him, over alleged illegal detention and instead sent Stephen Abunike, a litigation officer from his law firm, who told the court that his principal was indisposed and had written a letter seeking an adjournment.
Emmanuel Eze, who represented Lagos State Commissioner of Police, opposed Ogungbeje?s application for adjournment. According to him, he wasn’t informed about their plans, adding that another lawyer from Ogunbeje’s firm could have easily come to represent Evans.
According to him, it is an ?affront? to the court for Ogungbeje not to send another lawyer to stand in for him.
?In view of this, we are of the view that the applicant?s counsel is most unserious with this application. We, therefore, ask for a punitive cost of N100,000 against the applicant and his counsel,? he said.
The judge however awarded a disciplinary cost of N20,000 against Mr. Ogungbeje which must be paid before July 20, for what he described as unprofessional conduct. He said:
?Counsel wrote a letter seeking for an adjournment without copying the prosecution. This, to me, is unprofessional. The court hereby warns counsel to desist from such type of practice.?
The judge further warned Ogunbeje to desist from practices unbecoming of a legal practitioner. He also said the facts before him showed that Evans was still in police custody.