Evans Notorious kidnap kingpin changes 'guilty' plea to 'not guilty'

The change happened during his appearance before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Lagos State High Court on Thursday.

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Evans, with his accomplices, in court on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 play Evans, with his accomplices, during his court hearing in August (New Telegraph)
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Notorious billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, has changed his initial plea of 'guilty' to 'not guilty' to two-count charges of conspiracy and kidnapping.

The plea change happened during his appearance before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court on Thursday, October 19, 2017.

The suspect had initially entered a 'guilty' plea to the charges after he was arraigned, alongside five other accomplices, before the court on Wednesday, August 30.

The suspect is being tried alongside five accomplices: Uche Amadi, Ogechi Izechuwku, Okechukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi and Victor Chukwumonso.

At the August hearing the prosecution team, led by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, accused the defendants of capturing and detaining and collecting a ransom of £223,000 on Mr. Duru Donatius between Feb. 14 and April 12, 2017.

At the commencement of Thursday's hearing, lead prosecutor, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, told Justice Oshodi about an amendment of the charges which relates only to the punishment section for the second charge.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the punishment section in the second count of the amended charge was changed from Section 271 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State to Section 2(1) of the Kidnap Prohibition Law of the Laws of Lagos 2017.

While Evans' counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, asked the court to grant him a short adjournment to properly confer with his client on the way forward, Justice Oshodi only granted him a 45-minute recess.

After Evans' plea change, the prosecution informed the court about its readiness to proceed with the trial as it already has three witnesses willing ot testify in court.

Justice Oshodi adjourned the case until November 3 to allow the defence time to prepare for the trial.

ALSO READ: Evans pleads guilty to kidnapping in court

After the guilty plea in August, Evans' defence team had promised that he would change it because the plea was obtained through an "unconstitutional procedure for hoodwinking, undue influence, brainwashing and coercion".

They alleged that he was denied access to his lawyer and family and threatened with death if he didn't admit to being guilty.

Evans was arrested by a combined team of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Anti-Kidnap Unit of the Lagos State Police Command at one of his Magodo Phase II GRA, Lagos, home on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

His arrest was followed by revelations of how he successfully carried out kidnappings and made millions of dollars from his victims, eluding the police during his decade-long reign of terror.

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