- Posted June 12, 2014 by
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Lawyers protest new bail conditions in Ondo.
The lawyers abandoned the courtrooms and their chambers to protest the development by preventing all courts from sitting.
They also marched into the courtrooms to ensure compliance with the directive of the NBA.
The leaders of the association, including the secretary, Kayode Olorunfemi, moved from one courtroom to another to ensure that none of the courts in the town attended to litigants.
Different placards with inscriptions: “The Chief Registrar cannot dictate to our courts”; “Judiciary is not a legislative body”,”Discretion is still part of our law, free our courts now”, “CJ protect the judiciary not the executive” and “Obnoxious tax clearance, Mimiko’s voice, CJ’s hand” were displayed by the protesting lawyers.
Speaking with newsmen, the chairman, Dare, said: “The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olaseinde Kumuyi, has been given three days ultimatum within which to reverse the practice direction or face permanent closure of all courts in the state.
Dare said the directive that those standing sureties for an accused person should show three years tax clearance would deny many people access to justice.
He said the directive which the chief judge has no power to issue would turn the state to Police state, saying it is “unconstitutional, null and void for a chief judge to impose conditions of bail to his learned brother judges.”
Also speaking, a senior lawyer, Chief Dapo Agbede said: “The magistrate’s courts are governed by Magistrate Courts Law of Ondo State, 2006 and not by a mere circular letter signed by Chief Registrar.”
Chief Judge reacts
But the Chief Judge, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi while addressing the protesters said the directive was meant to ensure that those standing surety are responsible people in the society.
Kumuyi told them that he had the power to issue directive and what he did was to ensure that those standing surety for accused persons are ready to produce them when the trial commences.
He, however, said he was ready for constructive criticism and would be open to suggestions from members of the bar.
The chief judge said a committee would be constituted to meet with the judiciary to iron out grey areas of the directive.
But the lawyers were adamant despite the explanation of the chief judge as they disallowed courts from sitting.
posted by geoffrey oguguo