An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo has adjourned the trial of Frank Akpan and his daughter, Bassey Anwan, over the alleged murder of a job seeker, Iniubong Umoren.
The persons are standing trial on two-count of accessory after the fact of murder and harbouring of the first accused person, Akpan, in order to escape punishment respectively.
The court adjourned the trial to January 31 following the withdrawal of the lead Counsel, Emms Ekongson.
According to Vanguard, Ekongson notified the court of the termination of their representation of both of his clients on Friday in a letter addressed to the Clerk of the Court.
In the letter which was read before the court by the clerk, Ekongson noted that the decision to terminate their representation followed the failure of the family of his clients to pay his fees.
During the court proceeding, counsel to Uduak-Abasi Akpan, the first accused person, and Coordinator, Akwa Ibom State Legal Aid Council, Samson Adula, assured the court he would contact another lawyer to represent the two accused persons.
The trial Judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang, therefore, urged Frank, the second accused person to liaise with Samson Adula to connect him and his daughter to another lawyer.
Nkanang adjourned the murder case till January 31, 2022, following an appeal by Samson Adula that he would not be within the jurisdiction of the court on February 4 which the court had initially fixed as the next adjourned date for continuation of hearing.
When asked why he did not take over the defence of second and third accused persons, Samson Adula, explained that he could not have done so since he was not the one that handled it from the beginning.
He said: “Everybody has his own way of defence. I have my own way of putting up my defence, he (Ekongson) has his own way. And now he has withdrawn, let a neutral person come and continue from there.
“Remember we have taken about 8 witnesses out of 12. So at this stage, it is not very comfortable for me since I didn’t start from the beginning, even though I have been present. My office by virtue of our Act, statutorily empowers us to assign such cases to Lawyers.
“There are some Lawyers that have approached us to assign criminal cases to them. We will contact a couple of them and anybody that is ready to handle this case, we will assign the person to come in and conclude the defence of the second and third accused persons.”