A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon (SAN) has admitted that some judges and other members of the legal profession were involved in corruption.
Claims by President Muhammadu Buhari and the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, that senior lawyers were aiding corrupt persons to escape justice had ignited debates among lawyers and the public.
But in an interview with Daily Trust not The Nigeria lawyer over the weekend, Hon said though he would not endorse a blanket condemnation of lawyers, he could not deny that some lawyers were aiding and abetting corruption in the country and asked the president to move against such persons.
“The president as the chief security officer of Nigeria is likely to have privileged information which no other Nigerian will have. So to that extent, I will also agree that all chief justices of Nigeria in recent times have acknowledged that there is corruption in the judiciary. So I cannot begin to deny that there is no corruption,” he said.
Hon, who is the author of several criminal law books, also condemned the attitude of some senior lawyers who make unnecessary requests for adjournments to delay trial, describing it as ‘unconstitutional’.
“If a client brings a matter to me and I see no merit in it, I don’t even accept the person. If I accept any brief, the presumption is that I accept the innocence of my client. So it is in the best interest of your client and the nation to have the trial concluded within a reasonable time,” he said.
On the arraignment of two SANs in Lagos High Courts over alleged bribery of judges, he said it would be wrong to malign the senior lawyers or other lawyers on allegations that have not been determined by the courts.