James Ibori’s Trial: Defence Counsel Alleges Abuse of Process

Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) – 
The Defence Counsel to James Ibori, former Delta State Governor, Mr Ivan Krolic, QC has alleged that there may be no fair trial in the confiscation hearing of James Ibori that is due to start in June at a Southwark Crown Court in London.

Krolic QC said that there are established cases of corruption against the police and the crown prosecution counsels involved in James Ibori’s investigation. The discovery has led to the entire police investigating the money laundering and crown prosecution team in the case being dismissed from and changed.

Mr Krolic notified the court that following the revelation that the police involved in the investigation of James Ibori for money laundering were themselves involved in corruption, covered up by the crown prosecution, the integrity of the entire process has been put in doubt and it will only be fair for the court to look at their application of abuse of court process following a deliberate and calculated attempt by the crown prosecution to manipulate the process in order to gain undue advantage in the case and inflate the confiscation figure.

Speaking, Krolic said ‘there are cases of abuse of process against the crown prosecution to deliberately manipulate the process to gain undue advantage and inflate the confiscation figure which will require a stay of proceeding in this case to allow for the abuse of process to be dealt with’.

Acknowledging the precarious situation the on going case has been put to and the issues around police corruption which has led the Police authority to set up a review of the process and corruption allegations against its officers, the Judge, His Honour Tomlinson noted ‘there are a lot of perceptions and it is inevitable that the team involved in the investigation and prosecution be changed following these allegations’.

Putting the judge on notice should the confiscation trial begin as scheduled while the application for crown and police abuse of process is held, Mr Krolic said ‘our argument is that the whole process is infected and it will be wrong for the confiscation hearing to continue…the allegation is that the crown consistently and deliberately manipulated the system and James Ibori to plead guilty and inflate the figures in the light of the serious allegation of police corruption in this case’.

Reacting, the judge, His Honour Tomlinson admitted ‘I have an obligation to keep an open mind and keep this under constant review’. The Judge also admitted, having read the statement witness of James Ibori’s former defence counsel, Mr Nicholas Purnell QC that the crown counsels misled him to cause his client, James Ibori, to plead guilty, that ‘ I have read Purnell’s statements and there are potentials in the statements’. The Judge notwithstanding, the June start date of the Confiscation hearing stated ‘A number of Potential hazards to this proceedings have been flagged off’.

The Confiscation hearing in the meantime is due to start next month at Southwark Crown in London.

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Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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