Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja high court was yesterday told how the late Alhaja Kudirat, wife of the late politician, Chief M.K.O. Abiola was killed with a special bullet â€˜ probably from a professionalâ€™.
This testimony came just asÂ Justice Dada and the lead defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, exchanged hot words over theÂ Â Â conduct of the lawyer while theÂ proceeding wasÂ on.
At the resumed hearing of the case, the personal physician to the late Abiolaâ€s family, Dr.Â Ore Falomo, was put into the witness box by the prosecution whoÂ Â disclosed how late Kudirat wasÂ rushed into the hospital and how medical doctors battled in vain to saveÂ Â her life.
Dr Falomo whoÂ was led in evidence by the state Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mrs Bola Ogungbesan,Â Â said that the woman was killed with a special bullet which was recovered from her brain by a team of medical doctors.
He said that he and a team of neurosurgeons operated on Kudirat and â€œretrieved a white cylindrical bullet that had some marks on it from her brainâ€.
He addedÂ Â that the bullet was forcefully taken away by the police for investigation after the post mortem. He said the police claimed that the bullets would help them in their investigation.
He told the court that if medical ethics had been obeyedÂ Â , the bullets were supposed to be given to the family of the deceased since it was recovered from her body.
The lead defence counsel however disagreed with Dr Falomo, stating that he could not have stated the type of bullet used since he is not a ballistician.
However, deep into the proceedings, the defence team led by Mr. Olalekan Ojo in his cross examinations askedÂ Falomo some questions which he decided not to answer.
Rather than allow the court to wade into the matter, Ojo told the witness that he must respond to his questions telling him that he is a well known person in the society.
When the court decided to intervene, the presiding judge asked the lawyer to move on. ButÂ Ojo took exceptions to Falomoâ€™s position, saying the witnessÂ Â was not cooperating and that the court should not ignore the matter.
This however infuriated the Judge, who cautioned the counsel to watch his utterances in court. Ojoâ€™s response provoked anÂ Â argument with the judge. Justice Dada was annoyed with Ojo over theÂ manner he addressed the witness, asking him to act like a gentleman of the bar.
The JudgeÂ Â said, â€œThere must be a level of respect from the Bar to the Bench. Do every case with humility. You must know how to conduct yourself in court.
â€œYou are indulging in so many frivolities and the court didnâ€™t brief you. So, your liberties should be at the expense of the defendants. The witness in the witness box is an old man. So, treat him with courtesy.â€
Ojo, who apparently was not ready to concede anything to the court, replied in like manner, saying, â€œMy Lord, point of correction , sir. I am not arrogant at all. I am doing my job. I am not arrogant at all.Â I want to inform you thatÂ Â the Bar deservesÂ some level of respect.â€
At this juncture, other lawyers in court apologisedÂ on his behalf.
Responding to questions from Ojo, Falomo said during cross- examination,Â that he made all his statements in June 1996 at Adeniji Adele police station but was however confronted with a statement that was purportedly made by him on October 26, 1999. Falomo admitted to making the statement but claimed that the date on the statement was not correct.
Ojo however sought to tender the statement as a contradiction to the testimony of the witness when he said all statements were made in June 1996.
â€œSomebody must be lying: if the witness is correct.Â Then something must be wrong with those in charge of taking the statement. And with respect, those in charge of this prosecution. This document is relevant to the credibility of the witness and for the court to be able to take any address from the parties; the document ought to be in court as evidence.â€
Justice Dada in her ruling on the statement said, â€œIt is trite in law that the date on the statement is an integral part of the statement.â€ She therefore overruled the opposition of the prosecution by admitting the statement in evidence.
After the cross examination and admission of evidence, the witness was discharged and the case was further adjourned till July14, 2009 for continuation of trial.