The Ilorin-based legal practitioner, also lecturer of Unilorin, Kwara State, Dr. Ahmad Hussein Folorunsho, who after his call to the Nigeria bar in 2001 proceeded to Malasia to obtain Masters certificate in Comparative Law and Ph.D in 2010 and 2015 respectively. In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, he speaks on his most notable sundry experience in court as a jurist.
My most dramatic day in court will be segmented into two, one corroborating the other. I learnt the lesson of my life on that day. I was before a magistrate in respect of criminal case. While in the court, the matter of a senior colleague was called before mine as against my expectation, it was a criminal case too but his client was not in court, he claimed he was sick, he was however pleading the honourable court to pardon him for the absence of the accused. According to him, the accused was critically ill to the extent that he was taken to the traditional herbal home for treatment.
Despite the fact that he could not present any record or document to prove that the accused was indeed sick, the court was magnanimous to listen to him and to also believe him, so they admitted his plea. But something great happened thereafter while the court was writing his ruling, the accused person just walked in to the court. Everyone was baffled, I almost commanded the earth to open and swallow me up. This is the person that has been pronounced sick. The judge that has been writing his ruling before looked up and saw the accused walking into the court room, he was surprised too, then, he asked him, are you sick?
He said no, what is wrong with you? he said nothing. I almost shed tears that day wishing my senior colleague had not lied. The lesson I learnt from that was never to lie on any matter in life. The case that corroborated that happened also before the same magistrate, though after some times, it was also a criminal case, this accused of mine is an Ibo man who used to come from Lagos.
The standing instruction was that a day to his case, he must report in my office, he never faulted this for months. But this time around, I didn’t see him as agreed, when I got to the court the following morning, the magistrate asked for him, I said ‘my lord I didn’t know anything about his movement, I’m surprised by his absence too…’ I said I prayed nothing bad has happened to him, the court asked of what I want, why I was relying, praying the court to just give me the benefit of doubt, just as it happened to that senior colleague, when the judge had began writing his ruling, my client just walked in.
The judge didn’t see him at first, but I wanted him to notice him before me so I kept mum. Fortunately, the judge looked up, then, he asked him, where are you coming from? In his Ibo accent, he replied saying he was coming from Ibadan express road that morning, he added that his vehicle broke down that he slept along the road, “I know I have violated our agreement but I’m sorry, I slept on the road praying that I will get to court before it dismisses. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if I had lied also, so since then I’ve appreciated the virtue of always telling the truth.