Saturday, 25 May 2013
N2 Billion Bishop Assault Lawsuit: Oyedepo’s Victory A ‘Miscarriage of Justice,’ Says Victim's Attorney Robert Igbinedion
Robert Igbinedion, the lawyer who instituted a N2billion lawsuit against Bishop Oyedepo for his infamous slap on a teenage girl during an altar call in his Winners Chapel tabernacle, has dismissed last Thursday’s judgment in favor of the Bishop as a miscarriage of justice.
In a press release, Igbinedion said the judgment was decided mainly on technicalities and not on the copious and damaging facts, which he presented to the Court in support of the case.
Igbinedion, who was a lone lawyer battling with several senior colleagues hired by the affluent and influential Bishop, cited a Supreme Court precedent in the case of THE STATE Vs GWONTO & ORS. (1983) 1 SCNLR (NOTABLE PRONOUNCEMENT) to back his argument.
“This Court has for some time now laid down as a guiding principle that it is more interested is substance than in mere form,” Igbinedion quoted from the top court’s statement. “Justice can only be done if the substance of the matter is examined. Reliance on technicalities leads to injustice.”
He also highlighted the reactions of the public to the judgment and quoted a legal dictum as the basis for the consideration of further legal options in response to the boastful attitude of the Winners Chapel Bishop after he had humiliated the teenage girl at his church altar.
Commenting on the reaction of the public, he said, “If the ordinary man who monitored the proceeding says justice was done then justice was done but if he says justice was not done then justice was not done”.
Some of the options Igbinedion says he will be exercising soon include:
• An appeal up to the Supreme Court
• Setting a machinery in motion for the crime to be investigated and prosecuted by the Police or a Private prosecution
• Instituting an action in the United States; and
• Petitioning the Corporate Affairs Commission to investigate if exorcism is compatible with the objective of the Board of Trustees and if not, calling for its winding up by the Commission among or other sanctions against the Board of Winners Chapel.
He recalled similar strong cases in the past where he triumphed after long legal battles, including that of the jailed Reverend King.
“We have been tackling class bullies since our kindergarten days all through to University; we have engaged many oppressors of the people through lawful means, the one at hand is not insurmountable compared to our strong resolve,” he said.
It has been observed that Bishop Oyedepo has tamed his tongue on the altar regarding his legal predicament. Once, he boasted about the slap video, which had spread wildly on the Internet, as follows: “If I slapped the witch and she did not talk, what is their own business? Are they going to court now or what?”
Recently however, he has left the slapping issue completely out of his sermons, preferring to hire expensive lawyers to fight for him. An analyst said that for the bishop to be silent on the altar about the issue was the best option, as the boastful option could have attracted a bad public image and a grievous legal retribution.