Some lawyers have been accused of beating up police officers and even aiding the escape of armed robbers from the firm grip of the cops.
Dasuki Galandanchi, the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, has said members of the Owerri branch of the Nigeria Bar Association are ignorant of the law, Punch Metro reports.
The lawyers on Monday embarked on a protest march, calling on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to sack the CP and the Divisional Police Officer of the Ngor Okpala Police Division, Mr E. Moses, for allegedly assaulting the magistrate of Umuneke Ngor Magistrate’s Court, Ngozi Onyenemezu, and two lawyers, Emma Eke and Chukwuemeka Anyanwu, during a court session on July 19.
The Chairman of the Owerri branch of the NBA, Damian Nosike, had described the assault as “police desecration of the judiciary,” adding that apart from assaulting the female magistrate, the policemen called her “a prostitute.”
The magistrate was said to have discharged a criminal case involving three robbery suspects which was filed by police on the ground of the charges “being defective.”
The two lawyers who were assaulted are counsel for the accused.
But speaking to Punch Metro on Tuesday, the CP said the two lawyers attacked his men.
Galandanchi said a video clip of what transpired in the court and how the lawyers aided the escape of two out of the three armed robbery suspects were with the police.
He said his command would use the video clip as evidence in court.
The CP said, “The two lawyers who are counsel for the three armed robbery suspects attacked policemen. The video clip of what transpired in the court and how the lawyers broke chairs and used them on my men is with us.
“One of the lawyers positioned his car in front of the door to the court room in order to prevent the police from re-arresting the suspects once they stepped out of the court.
“We never invaded the court and no police officer attacked or assaulted the magistrate. We were waiting for the discharged robbery suspects to step out of the court so that we can re-arrest them. But the two lawyers who were defending them prevented us.
“They positioned their vehicle at the door of the court in order to aid the escape of two out of the three suspects.
“One of the lawyers went inside and broke chairs in the court and used it on my men who were on a lawful duty.
“We have the video clip and we will be using it as one of our evidence in court.”
The CP said it was because of the escape of two out of the three armed robbery suspects that the police arrested the lawyers for “aiding and abeting the escape of criminal suspects.”
He said the two lawyers who were on bail had been arraigned before a magistrate on July 20, 2018, on eight counts.
The CP said, “We arraigned the two lawyers for assisting the robbery suspects to escape. As we speak, two of the suspects are on the run. It is on that basis that we are prosecuting the two lawyers.
“He who goes to equity must go with clean hands. The lawyers should allow the court to decide. Their protest is shameful and a product of ignorance.
“I can’t believe that lawyers who are supposed to know more about the law are protesting on streets about a case before a court of competent jurisdiction without allowing the court to adjudicate it.
“No amount of distraction will make us not to go on with the prosecution of the two lawyers because they aided the escape of two robbery suspects.”