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London Court Okays Trial Of Ibori Associates - Politics - Nairaland

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London Court Okays Trial Of Ibori Associates by kaypound(m): 1:31am On Feb 06, 2010
Contrary to the expectations of the former Delta State Governor James Ibori, following his scandalous acquittal in Asaba, his associates will have to face trial for offences of money laundering and fraud in the UK, starting on February 16 2010. This ruling was given by Judge Christopher Harding of the Southwark Crown Court in London today after listening to two days of arguments last week. Ibori’s associates, led by their well-paid counsels, each of them a Queen Counsel (QC): Mr Andrew Trollope, for Ibie-Ibori (his sister) and Theresa (wife); Mr Owen, for Ms Okoronkwo (his mistress); and Mr. Ian Winter, for Mr. Bhadresh Gohil, and Bimpe Pogosan (his personal secretary), by Oba Nsugbe. Ms Wass, also a QC, represented the Prosecution. The case started at 2: 00 PM on Monday, January 25, and finished at 4pm on Tuesday, January 26. The three QCs argued that Mr Ibori was vindicated. As had been widely reported by Saharareporters, they stressed that the Nigeria ruling was such that all the charges against Ibori were dismissed, and that there could no longer be any case against the defendants in the UK.

The lawyers argued strenuously that the ruling in Asaba was valid and amounted to a full acquittal. They claimed that if Mr. Ibori’s monies are not proceeds of crime what did it matter how and in what way the money was used by his associates? They put forward a hypothetical scenario that if the Asaba decision had been made in Snaresbrook Crown Court then the Southwark Crown Court would not be retrying the issue, and that Southwark could not do the same to the Asaba court.

Ibori’s lawyers further argued that as far as Ibori’s women were concerned, the matter had now been settled in Nigeria and the UK court had to respect that judgment. They noted that the hat EFCC has appealed the Asaba judgment, but that since that appeal has not been heard, Southwark should not proceed with the first trial.

It was strong advocacy as they pulled all the stops for their clients and argued with intensity and at times even anger at the judge when he asked them questions which showed that the judge questioned their position.

There was constant reference by Ibori’s defence team to an email sent by one “Mr Dodoo” from Nigeria. They also had in court a lawyer from Nigeria who they said was Mr Ibori's lawyer and would be available to explain the impact of the Asaba judgment to the UK court but Judge Hardy declined to accept his presence. They said that the ruling was made in accordance with the criminal procedure rules in Nigeria.

The Crown prosecution witness rebuttedby arguing that the Asaba judgment was merely an opinion as opposed to a full acquittal and that the judge in Asaba had not considered the weight of evidence that the UK prosecutors has. The Prosecution argued that they wanted no further delays, and strongly urged that the case proceed to trial in the UK.

The Crown argued strongly that the decision in Asaba has no relevance to the hearings in the UK, noting they had provided a summary of the Asaba judgement and a page by page breakdown of the account to show why it cannot be relied on for the cases in London. Indeed, they said, the first 20 pages of the Asaba ruling were in no way relevant to the current proceedings

With particular reference to Mr. Bhadresh Gohil, the Crown said they had never even relied on the Nigerian evidence and that they possess sufficient evidence to prosecute him. That included the hard drive found behind his fireplace, and the transactions he explained as 'families,' then later when disproved, pleaded 'client privilege/confidentiality. There was also the new case of V-Mobile shares.

There were a lot of documents to go through, and Judge Hardy listened patiently to everyone over and over. When it became clear to Ibori's lawyers that things may not turn out well they bandied around the Law Commission report of 2003 on Double Jeopardy - and also cases including DPP v Connelly to fortify their argument.

But in the ruling which was made available to the defendants and the prosecution directly without any open court session, the judge ruled that that trial will continue as planned on February 15, 2010 and gave the defendants till February 14 2010 to file an appeal.

Re: London Court Okays Trial Of Ibori Associates by sjeezy8: 1:46am On Feb 06, 2010
haha lmfao Ibori might have gotten a way in London but they will nail his associates grin esp with No yaradua to save him!
Jonathan as president.

The way everything falls into place is crazy like it was all planned maybe by Obj.
Re: London Court Okays Trial Of Ibori Associates by kaypound(m): 10:42pm On Feb 06, 2010

haha lmfao Ibori might have gotten a way in London but they will nail his associates grin esp with No yaradua to save him!
Jonathan as president.

The way everything falls into place is crazy like it was all planned maybe by Obj.

This is the beginning of good things to come grin, now that the chicken has come home to roast it looks like action like in WWF grin. Asaba has no relevance in London. Did you hear that well IBORI angry angry angry. What a strategy by the clowns of the thieves AGF and IBORI. If they ladies loose in London, Ibori will be exposed finally by the mistress as she can't afford to be jailed while he is breathing fine in Nigeria. Here goes the hurricane.

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