The London Southwark Crown Court has been told that the abrupt manner the asset confiscation hearing of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, ended in London after the prosecution and defence had closed their cases and filed their final briefs, and the order for retrial will have cost implications for the court and the British taxpayer.
Ibori’s lead counsel, Mr. Ivan Krolick, made this clear to the court for granting the crown prosecution’s request to halt the assets confiscation proceedings after three weeks of exhaustive legal arguments.
He told Judge Anthony Pitts that “there will be cost implications.”
Preparations for the abruptly ended proceedings started in January leading to the last three weeks in September and a review of 63,000 pages of prosecution papers by the defence team.
The arguments over-shot the assigned time frame by a week.
Still, pushing aside all the efforts of the defence team to present the position of the defendant against the confiscation request order being made by the prosecution should indeed have cost implications, which will be borne by British taxpayers, who will be paying for the crown prosecution’s shoddy preparation and lack of tangible evidence to support their confiscation claims and accusation against the former Delta State governor.
Judge Anthony Pitts, rather than give judgment or give a date for judgment after three weeks of legal battle during which final submissions were made, ordered the retrial of the case from the start and granted the Crown Prosecution’s request for more witnesses to be called and more evidences to be brought in for him.
To quote him directly, Pitts said while giving ordering for a retrial: “This matter must proceed in a way that I can make proper decision.”
One question that has agitated Ibori’s camp and lawyers interested in the case since, is what will “proper decision” mean in this case?
This is because the British Crown prosecution claimed they presented in their trial bundle 63,000 pages of statements, flew in Nigeria’s former EFCC chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, to give evidence in court, made over 50 trips to Nigeria, had boxes of documents taken from the government of Delta State in the course of investigation, investigated James Ibori’s alleged criminality against Delta State for over eight years with unhindered access to government information and supported by the government of Nigeria.