Crime

Prosecutor withdraws from Justice Ngwuta’s trial

Prosecuting counsel, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips, has withdrawn from the trial of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on money laundering charges involving over N500m.

Adeogun-Philips, a private legal practitioner, announced his decision to withdraw from the case when the case up for continuation of trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday.

The lawyer announced his withdrawal when the judge after adjourning some other cases, asked if both the prosecuting and the defence teams, were ready for trial of the apex court’s judge.

Adeogun-Philips, in response, rose to tell the judge that he had decided to withdraw from the case.

The lawyer, a former International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, gave no reason for his decision, but he sat back when the case was eventually called.

When the case was  called, Mrs. Hajara Yusuf, a counsel from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, took over as the leader of the prosecuting team.

Informing the judge of the change, she said, “I have been instructed to inform the court that Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips, the lead prosecuting counsel, will no longer  be appearing in this matter.

“In view of this change, myself and my colleagues will be appearing subject when arrangement will be made in due course.”

The judge thanked Adeogun-Philips for his “courtesy” in the course of his appearance for the prosecution.

“He is wished success in his further endeavours,” the judge said.

The lead defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), also commended for the erstwhile prosecuting counsel’s conduct and wished him success too.

As of the time of filing this report, had Agabi started the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness and Adeogun-Philips was still seated in the front row alongside the prosecuting team.

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