Lawyers self­ish - Ja­cobs

Daily Trust - - NEWS -

Ro­timi Ja­cobs (SAN) ob­served that what the pres­i­dency said is vis­i­ble for all to see. “De­spite the fact that there is pro­vi­sion for Sec­tion 306 say­ing that there should be no stay, you see lawyers fil­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for stay upon stay.”

He added that even af­ter such ap­pli­ca­tions were re­fused by the court, such lawyers would file an­other one. “This shows our lack of readi­ness for the sys­tem to work. Peo­ple are still fil­ing friv­o­lous ob­jec­tions that the ACJ pro­hib­ited. Peo­ple are ask­ing for ad­journ­ment in­dis­crim­i­nately.” He said that de­spite the ACJA pro­vid­ing for five ad­journ­ments once the trial com­mences, lawyers still went to courts to seek for ad­journ­ments more than what the Act pro­vided.

He said lawyers needed at­ti­tu­di­nal change. “Our at­ti­tudes need to change if the so­ci­ety must change. We can­not con­tinue to do things in our own ways and ex­pect things to change. It’s not the law that can re­form a na­tion but we must also re­form our at­ti­tude.”

Ja­cobs added that the self­ish­ness of some lawyers was not mak­ing them look at the in­ter­est of the larger so­ci­ety. He sug­gested that lawyers and judges needed more train­ing to un­der­stand the right thing to be done.

Re­act­ing, Chair­man, Pres­i­den­tial Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee Against Cor­rup­tion (PACAC), Prof Itse Sa­gay (SAN) cau­tioned lawyers against en­gag­ing in acts ca­pa­ble of frus­trat­ing govern­ment’s on-go­ing ef­forts to curb cor­rup­tion and im­punity.

He ad­vised lawyers not to com­pro­mise the pro­fes­sional ethics or aid crim­i­nal­ity for per­sonal gains, but must en­sure the pro­tec­tion of so­ci­etal in­ter­est at all time.

Sa­gay, urged lawyers to de­sist from pro­fes­sional mis­con­duct, not­ing that where lawyers de­lib­er­ately work to aid his client es­cape pun­ish­ment is un­eth­i­cal.

“The obli­ga­tion of a lawyer to ac­cept briefs does not ex­tend to the pro­tec­tion of their clients from the con­se­quences of crimes against the so­ci­ety.

“A lawyer who looks at his client and be­lieve that client is guilty of a crime, should ad­vise that client to plead guilty oth­er­wise he should drop the case. He does not have a choice.

“He should not know­ingly, or be­ing aware that a client is guilty of an of­fence, set out to pro­vide the de­fence of not guilty with the in­ten­tion of see­ing him set free from the con­se­quences of his crime.

“It is there­fore un­eth­i­cal to set out to frus­trate le­gal pro­ceed­ings by ex­ploit­ing the rules of pro­ce­dure and reg­u­la­tion. It is un­eth­i­cal to make friv­o­lous ap­pli­ca­tion with the hope of de­lay­ing the pro­ceed­ings in a case.

“De­fence coun­sel, should avoid end­ing up as a part­ner in the crime by shar­ing guilt and pro­ceeds of that crime.

“A lawyer’s role should not de­gen­er­ate from that of a le­git­i­mate de­fence coun­sel to be­com­ing an ac­com­plice af­ter the fact.

“A lawyer who is over-en­thu­si­as­tic in the de­fence of his client and cross­ing the line from be­ing a lawyer to be­ing to be­com­ing a co-de­fen­dant will be pros­e­cuted as such” Sa­gay said

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