The lawyers that prosecuted James Ibori in a London Court have been sacked from the case for gross misconduct in the matter.
“Both Sasha Wass QC and Esther Shutzer-Weissman, her junior (who had been dealing with this case since 2007) were both sacked last week. They will be doing no more of the Ibori or linked proceedings”, a lawyer knowledgeable about the proceedings told Elombah.com
Asked why the duo was removed from the case, the lawyer told Elombah.com “They were sacked for misleading the various courts including the Court of Appeal in Mr Gohil’s 2014 Appeal against convictions and for lying to the court.”
The misconduct allegedly committed by Wass QC and Esther Shutzer-Weissman includes:
1. Misleading the Court of Appeal; 2. Misleading Southwark Crown Court; 3. Misleading the Administrative Court; 4. Deliberately not disclosing disclosable material; 5. Agreeing with officers not to investigate the allegations of corruption; 6. With the DPS, presenting a known to be false case against Mr Gohil and Mr Knuckey.
The sources added that “The UK Director of Public Prosecutions removed them as a first step. Mr Kamlish QC, counsel for Mr Gohil has written to the Dirctor of Public Prosecutions, DPP. They are have reopened their appeal and are now asking for a full public inquiry into this case.”
UK media had reported that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is facing serious questions over an alleged cover-up that could jeopardise the high-profile conviction of a billionaire Nigerian politician, Mr James Ibori.
The crisis follows the dramatic collapse of a case involving Bhadresh Gohil, a lawyer who represented Ibori, a former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta State. Gohil was cleared at Southwark crown court last week after the CPS withdrew a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Gohil had been accused of leaking fabricated documents to media organisations and MPs on the home affairs select committee. The documents claimed a police officer involved in the Ibori inquiry had received corrupt payments from RISC Management, a private detective agency that worked for Ibori.
The decision to prosecute Gohil backfired, however, when CPC lawyers were accused of withholding key documents which could have proved police corruption
A court document sighted by Elombah.com in the matter of ‘The Crown v Bhadresh Gohil’ provided detailed analysis of the many misrepresentations the crown prosecution made during the course of these hearings.
Sasha Wass QC was accused of giving “false information to the Court of Appeal, in addition to the false information repeatedly provided to Southwark Crown Court. This resulted in the Court refusing permission to appeal.”
Mr Gohil states that from information gathered from the two court transcripts of the 14th August and 8th November, demonstrates that in applying to revoke bail before HHJ Testar on 20th November and 7th December 2015, Wass “repeatedly misled the court”.
“The fact that this was in the context of seeking to have Mr Gohil remanded in custody and that the fact that your instructed counsel convinced the court do just that by misleading it renders this misconduct of a most serious nature.”
“The transcript of the Admin Court JR hearing on 21st December will further demonstrate that, beyond any doubt, that your instructed counsel misled William Davis J in the same endeavor.”
“The consequences of the serious prosecutorial misconduct in this extends to junior prosecuting counsel, Ms Schutzer Weissman, and your own employee, Michael McCrone. There are many examples, as you know.”
“This misconduct is relevant to all future proceedings connected with the collapse of the case last week.”
In a statement made available to Elombah.com, Mr Gohil stated:
“My case represents an egregious miscarriage of justice. From the outset, I have maintained my innocence. The truth surrounding the extent of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption which lies at the heart of my case has now finally emerged. It is now clear that the Prosecutors have systematically and deliberately misled nearly every court, including the Court of Appeal by withholding substantial disclosable material.
“Crown Prosecutors colluded with police officers to distort the facts, manipulate the evidence and at every stage, persecuted me for seeking the truth. It is also now clear that from the outset, police officers infiltrated the heart of my defence, deliberately violating a fundamental cornerstone of British justice. My lawyers intend to immediately take the case back to the Court of Appeal.
“It has been the sheer hard work and tenacity of my legal team – Stephen Kamlish QC, Catherine Oborne and Simon Natas that was finally able to expose the truth – they were truly dedicated.”
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