By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The defence lawyer, Mr Sani Katu SAN, in the ongoing trial of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team(PRTT) Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday applied to withdraw as his counsel in the trial.
The senior lawyer, had at the resumed trial yesterday, notified the trial court of his decision to pull out from the case.
He, however, did not give reasons of his application.
The lead counsel in the defence team said, “My lord, the matter is adjourned for continuation of hearing and for us to bring another witness today. But, before then, we have an application we are compelled to make.
“The application is to seek for leave of this Court to withdraw from this matter. In doing this, we appreciate the court’s indulgence”.
Opposing the application, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Farouk Abdullah, urged the court to compel Maina and his defence team to proceed on calling another defense witness.
The prosecution posited that the defence team failed to complied to section 349(8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in their application for withdrawal.
“My lord, as rightly stated, this matter is slated today for continuation of defence. While we concede that a Defendant has the constitutional right to a counsel of his choice, and a counsel in the matter can also withdraw at any time he deems fit.
“In view of the non-compliance of senior counsel to the provision of the extant law on withdrawal of counsel, we pray the court to refuse the application and direct that the business of the day be done.’’
Responding, Katu, SAN, prayed the court for a short adjournment to enable him to file a formal application to withdraw from the trial.
Remarkably, Katu is the second SAN to withdraw from the trial.
It will be recalled that the previous defence lawyer in the matter, Chief J. K. Gadzama, SAN, pulled out of the case after his client, Maina, jumped bail and fled the country midway into his trial.
Similarly, counsel that hitherto represented Maina’s firm, Mr. Adeola Adedipe, also withdrew his further appearance in the matter.
It will be recall that Chief J. K. Gadzama, SAN, was the first counsel to abandon Maina to his fate when he withdrew from the case after Maina had jumped bail and fled the country.
Similarly, Adeola Adedipe, who represented Maina’s company also pulled out from the matter.
Mr. Anayo Adibe, another lawyer engaged by Maina to handle his defence after his arrest in Niger Republic, was later disengaged few days before the commencement of trial to pave way for Katu.