A mild drama played out inside the Lagos High Court yesterday when embattled chairman of the Bi-Courtney Group, Wale Babalakin, was denied his request to be allowed to sit outside the dock by the trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo.
The no-nonsense judge also dismissed Babalakin’s complaint about the wooden seat in the dock.
Babalakin, whose request and complaint were made by his lawyer, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, is in the dock with others for alleged money laundering.
During the hearing, Mr. Fagbemi, quoting section 210 of the administration of criminal justice law which allows an accused to sit adjacent to the dock, prayed the judge to allow his client sit outside the dock.
He also complained about the hard nature of the chair in the dock, saying it was too hard for his client to sit on.
In his response, Justice Onigbanjo insisted that Babalakin must sit in the dock. While dismissing the section of the administration of criminal justice law referred to by Babalakin’s lawyer, the judge said it applied only to a defendant who was summoned by the court.
The judge also insisted that the accused should sit on the wooden chair in the dock as that was the only one available in the court.
It would be recalled that Babalakin, Alex Okoh, Stabilini Visioni Ltd, Bi-Courtney Ltd and Renix Nigeria Ltd are standing trial for fraudulently conniving with former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, to transfer various sums of money through third parties to some foreign accounts, under the guise of purchasing a Challenger Jet Aircraft.