To mark the final day of the Nigerian Bar Associations Law Week, Kaduna chapter, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Ogunbiade, has advised lawyers not to defend kidnappers and terrorists at all cost, so as not to endorse crime.
Mr Ogunbiade said this in Kaduna on Tuesday where he spoke on the topic; ‘Law and morality: The question of offering defence to kidnappers and terrorists, where do we draw the line?’
He said that although offering legal services to kidnappers and terrorists was allowed in the rules of professional conduct, lawyers should however adhere strictly to the ethical standards and code of conduct of the law profession.
Mr Ogunbiade added that lawyers should not allow emotions and personal interest or any other gratification to hinder them from carrying out their duties in accordance to the ethics and the law, and always justify their actions with clear conscience.
“It is the responsibility of a legal practitioner to uphold and observe the rules of professional conduct, promote and foster the course of justice.
“A legal practitioner has a duty to accept any brief in the court, unless there are special circumstances that justify his refusal.
“However, it is the duty of every legal practitioner to decide what cases to take to court for the plaintiff and what cases to contest in court for the defendant.
“Where a legal practitioner undertakes a defence of a person accused of a crime, the legal practitioner should exert himself by all fair and honourable means to put before the court all matters that are necessary in the interest of justice.
“Any legal practitioner who offers his services to a defendant in a trial for kidnapping or terrorism, should do it in order to uphold the fair trial of the defendant as enshrined in our laws but not to defend him at all cost, legal practitioners should not endorse crime.
“Every accused person has a right to be tried before proven guilty, when evidence and substantial elements are provided against any suspect of kidnapping or terrorism, lawyers should not maneuver at any rate to have the suspect go free,” he said.