Recently, Joe Agi SAN funded the wedding of the son of Justice Adeniyi Ademola to the tune of N30 million. Even though the SAN is prosecuting and defending many cases before Justice Ademola the trial judge, Jude Okeke (Justice Okeke was today outed as one of the judges favored by Joe Nwobike to assign all his corrupt cases) said that the accused persons have no case to answer before him!
Even though both accused persons were freed on technical grounds neither the NJC nor the Disciplinary Committee of the Body of Benchers has deemed it fit to subject them to any form of discipline. Before we are told that any disciplinary measure meted out to them will amount to double jeopardy what is the justification for removing the name of a lawyer who has been convicted by a criminal court?
Two SANs are currently facing trial in the Lagos High Court for bribing judges before whom they have cases. Having lost our sense of shame some colleagues have said that there is nothing bad in funding the weddings and burials for judges by giving them millions or hundreds of thousands of Naira without the knowledge of the opposing counsel. As lawyers and judges have forgotten the provisions of the Rules of professional practice and code of conduct for judicial officers we are compelled to draw attention to the following:
Section 2 : Relationships with Judges
A lawyer should never show marked attention or unusual hospitality to a judge, uncalled for by the personal relations of the parties. He should avoid anything calculated to gain or having the appearance of gaining special personal consideration or favor from a judge.
Section 3(c) Conduct Towards Judges During Trial
Except as provided by rule or order of a court, a lawyer should never deliver to the judge any letter, memorandum, brief or other written communication without concurrently delivering a copy to opposing counsel.
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR JUDICIAL OFFICERS
A Judicial Officer should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities
1. A Judicial Officer should respect and comply with the laws of the land and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary.
2. Social Relationships
(a) A Judicial Officer must avoid social relationship that are improper or give rise to an appearance of impropriety, that cast doubt on the judicial officers's ability to decide cases impartially, or that bring disrepute to the Judiciary.
C - Disqualification
1. (c) A Judicial Officer should disqualify himself in a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to the instances where he knows that he individually or as a Judicial Officer or his spouse or child, has a financial or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
F- Acceptance of Gifts
1. A Judicial Officer and members of his family shall neither ask for nor accept any gift, bequest, favor, or loan on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.