According to Adegboruwa, the said national daily (not Thenigerialawyer) in its editorial of Tuesday 23 February, 2016 titled “Between Tompolo and the law” embarked upon a self imposed role of sitting in judgment over the facts of the matter between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Tompolo and others, which is pending before a court of competent jurisdiction. He stated that the paper did not hide its knowledge of the fact that Government Ekpemupolo had appealed the order of the Federal High Court for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him, adding that if the paper believes in the supremacy of the rule of law, it ought to have respected the time tested rule that once a matter is pending before a court of law, all persons are enjoined to refrain from making comments that could prejudice the subject matter of the suit. Adegboruwa explained that the paper is showing disrespect to the court by embarking on the needless exercise of sitting in judgment over the case because aside the preliminary issue, it raised some fundamental issues, which he added were borne out of ignorance of matters of law and procedure. The activist, in reply to issues raised in the editorial, stated that the question of whether a defendant is entitled to appeal the order of arrest is for the Court of Appeal to determine and not the newspaper, citing Section 241 (1) (b) of the Constitution. He further stated that it is not the duty of counsel to produce a defendant in court for arraignment but the duty of the prosecution. “In this regard, paragraph 3 (b) of the Federal High Court Practice Direction 2013 provides as follows: On the date of first arraignment, the Prosecutor must produce the accused person in court. Thus, Judges look at the facts of a case and the applicable law, but not sentiments, in deciding cases that come before them.” While speaking on the call for disciplinary measures against counsel, Adegboruwa argued that though the newspaper regrettably pontificated that if counsel to the defendant fails to produce him in court they should be sanctioned for professional misconduct; it should know that the legal profession in Nigeria is regulated by written rules. “The application or invocation of those rules is not dependent upon media backlash or editorial opinions of newspapers on matters being handled by members of the profession which opinions are, on most occasions, completely borne out ignorance of the law and applicable procedure. “It only remains for us to add here that the notion, which recently began to gain currency that lawyers who take up the defence of persons accused of crimes, particularly corruption, are aiding corruption is totally misconceived. May the day never come in Nigeria when lawyers would be afraid to take up the defence of persons accused of crime simply because of media backlash or editorial opinions,” Adergboruwa said. He concluded by saying that, “we make bold to assert, with unwavering legal equilibrium, that it is in the best interest of the society that persons accused of even the most heinous of crimes be defended by the best of counsel available so as to test the veracity of the allegations raised against the accused with a view to ensuring that justice is not only done but is seen to have been manifestly done. After all, it has been said by the Supreme Court that justice is a three way traffic; Justice to the society, justice to the victim of the crime and justice to the accused.” He urged the newspaper to respect the rights of every Nigerian who has been accused of crimes to defend himself according to law and the rights of Nigerian lawyers to practise their profession according to law.]]>

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