Ike Ekweremadu, the former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, sat motionless from his prison yesterday in the UK, as his daughter’s application to not stand trial with him and her mother for their “conspiracy to harvest organ” charges was thrown out by Justice Johnson at the Old Bailey, TheGuardian reports.
Sonia, 25, was in the dock with her mother, Beatrice. But the senator who followed proceedings via video link looked unmoved as the judge ruled that she was not unfit to stand a “criminal trial lasting seven weeks” as her defence barrister, Femi Oni, had argued.
But it was a day of the battle of expert witnesses as both her barrister and the Crown prosecutor used the testimonies and reports of expert witnesses to back their arguments in the courtroom.
After tabling the application for “stay of proceedings” on the basis that “she’s unfit” medically and psychologically due to her ongoing thrice a week dialysis, both sides of the bench led their expert witnesses in testimonies via video link, beginning with the Manchester-based professor that Oni had lined up.
After being sworn in, the defence asked him: “Did you have opportunity to get consultation with her before writing his report?” He replied with a “yes.” Asked if he has a report on “what she’s suffering from?” the professor told the court that, “she’s developed from a young age, a kidney condition” that led to a gradual dysfunction and consequently, “her life is dependent on dialysis treatment until she has a kidney transplant.”
Led in further testimony, he told the court the treatment has placed psychological, mental and medical burdens on her as it does on other dialysis patients. The professor also relied on the report of a consultant psychiatrist.
Davies, on his part, had Dr. Andrews as his expert witness. Though he admitted having not had any direct consultation with Sonia, but did say if the court schedule of sitting times was moved to afternoons to accommodate her treatment days that she’s capable of standing trial. Andrew told the court in his testimony that “the residual symptoms of dialysis do not make it impossible to attend trial.”
After listening to the barristers and their expert witnesses, including their reports, and acknowledging that the treatment takes its toll on her and that she’s even had to withdraw from her Masters degree programme after her diagnosis, the judge said it is not confirmed that her recovery or clinical care could suffer if she were to stand trial. He then ruled that, “accordingly, the application is dismissed.”
Senator Ekweremadu, who has been in custody since June 23, 2022, was seen in what seemed like a blue blazer on a white shirt.
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