It Was Theaterical in Enugu Court as Lawyer & Client Walks Out On Magistrate

By KayCee July 11, 2014 00:28

It was mild drama in a magistrate court sitting in Enugu, when a Lawyer and his client protested the refusal of the presiding magistrate to disqualify herself from the case.

The magistrate, having been accused of bias, was asked to hands off the matter and return same to the court registry for re-assignment.

Counsel to the defendant in Suit No: MEN/125/2012 Pinnacle Oil Vs Mr. Bede Agu, Jacob Egbo was about to move a motion for stay of proceeding when his client Mr. Agu, (defendant) stood up to tell the court that he had lost confidence in the court and that he had instructed his lawyer to ask for transfer of the matter.
Agu claimed that he overheard the PW1 in the matter speaking to someone on the phone that the matter was already concluded that everything was going on as planned.

“I am not interested in this matter; I have my doubts if I will get justice here based on the discussion I overheard. If it is possible I will like the matter transferred. I am surprised my counsel is going on with this matter because I have instructed him to discontinue that I have lost confidence in the court”, he told the court.

Consequently, the defense counsel, Barr. Egbo applied that the matter be returned to the registry for re-assignment to another court.

Replying to the application, counsel to the plaintiff N. Aroh (Miss) expressed surprise with the application arguing that there were procedures for such request.
She argued that Order 16 of the Magistrate Court Rules deals on transfer, which she said is purely an administrative duty of the Chief Judge or the Registrar.

But the defense counsel insisted that he is note asking the court to usurp the functions of the Chief Judge but to return the matter to the registry since the issue of bias has been raised.

He said, “It will be preposterous for me to proceed with this matter in view of this fear expressed by my client which has not been investigated.

“Your Worship, you cannot wait for the CJ to exercise his power of transfer if for instance your own father is before you as a litigant. The law requires you to return the case file to the registry for onward assignment to another court because we are dealing with the issue of bias not the power CJ to transfer a matter.

Therefore, the section cited by the plaintiff counsel does not apply in the instant case”.
In his ruling, the Presiding Magistrate F.E Chukwu said that the application is unfounded in law.

“I therefore, refuse the call to return the matter to the registry”, the court held.

Following the decision of the court, the defense counsel subsequently refused to carry on with his motion requesting to be excused so as to attend to other matters, a request that was turn down by the court.

At this point the defense counsel, with the defendant walked out of the court room eve as the court continued with the matter.

The matter was later adjourned to July 15, 2014.



By KayCee July 11, 2014 00:28