LEGAL PRACTITIONER – LEGAL REPRESENTATION – Whether a lawyer is permitted to act as counsel and witness for his client at the same time


“From the Bar, Mrs. Ngozi Ekwensi defence Counsel, testified as it were (contrary to Rule 20 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners, 2007 that prohibits a lawyer as a witness for the client) thus- The convict is the first offender who has not wasted the time of this Court in going through the whole trial of the charge. He is the bread winner of the family, with an aged mother in the village to take of. He has been in detention since 14/5/2009 without any financial assistance from anybody. He is a young man of 25 years old. If given a further opportunity (he) would be useful to the society at large and to himself. The essence of sentencing has been decided in plethora of authorities is not to punish an offender but to rehabilitate and reform the offender especially when the offender has pleaded guilty. The convict has no previous record known to me. Based on this, I humbly urge the Court to be lenient while pronouncing sentence. I urge the Court to temper justice with mercy.” per EKO, J.S.C. in NWEKE CHIBUEZE FRANCIS v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2020- LCER-39157-SC) at p. 4 – p. 5

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