19 March 2019

Nigeria: Supreme Court Restores Lawyer After 5 Years' Debarment

The Supreme Court has reinstated a lawyer, Kunle Kalejaye (SAN), who was debarred by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPPC) over alleged misconduct.

In a judgment on Friday, a five-man panel of justices led by Justice Dattijo Muhammad, unanimously overturned the decision of the LPDC on the basis that the constitution of the committee which handed down the sanction breached Kalejaye's right to fair hearing.

In the lead judgement by Justice Centus Nweze, the apex court held that member of the LPDC panel who did not participate in the trial but contributed in the final judgment, was a breach of the appellant's right to fair hearing.

Kunle Kalejaye (SAN) was counsel to former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the PDP, in the 2008 governorship petitions tribunal against the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) over the 2007 governorship election.

He was found guilty by the LPDC for engaging in "conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner" involving private communication with the chairman of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Thomas Naron, in 2008 while representing his clients at the tribunal, without the knowledge of the other party.

Kalejaye was alleged to have made telephone calls to influence a member the tribunal.

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