A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, has refused to vacate the trial dates of a former managing director of Intercontinental Bank plc (now Access Bank), Dr Erastus Akingbola and his associate Mr. Bayo Dada, as requested by their counsel, Deji Sasegbon, SAN. At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, July 9th, 2012, Sasegbon prayed the court presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru to vacate the six days the court had earlier picked for the continuation of their trial in the suit filled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Sasegbon had at the last adjourned date, June 26th, 2012, asked the court for an adjournment to enable the defence present another witness before it. Despite opposition from the prosecution counsel, Emmanuel Ukala SAN, the Judge granted the request and urged the defence counsel to choose dates in September. Sasegbon however proposed some dates in July and the court agreed. On the strength of this, July 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th were fixed for the continuation of trial.
However, on Monday July 9th, 2012, when the trial resumed, one Abubakar Shamsudeen, a lawyer in the defence team, came with a request praying the court to vacate the said adjourned dates. He said Sasegbon could not make it to court owing to some medical challenges. Shamsudeen said a letter was written to the Judge by one of the counsel in the defence team stating the reasons. He said though the lead counsel had asked him to appear for the defence, he too would need time to prepare the witness. He asked the court to vacate the fixed adjourned dates for a later date, to offer them time to prepare the witnesses.
Justice Abiru however refused the request. He said he had earlier asked the defence counsel to pick dates in September but they picked dates in July. He said no medical report was given to the court to suggest that counsel have any medical challenge except two letters written to him by two counsel in the defence team, one dated 28th June, 2012 and another July 5th, 2012, in which they pleaded for time to prepare the witness. He warned that any letter written to the court by the defence counsel regarding the case should henceforth be addressed to the court Registrar and not to him.
He ruled that the defence should continue their defence and adjourned to July 11th, 2012.