The Chairman, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has given an insight into practices that could turn a lawyer into an accused person and land him in jail. Sagay spoke on Tuesday during a one-day workshop on ‘Anti-corruption, ethics of the legal profession and justice sector’. The event was co-organised by the Nigerian Bar Association and the PCAC.
He urged lawyers to be aware of the extent they could legitimately go in defending their clients in order not to end up as a co-accused.In his contribution, S?agay described lawyers as “social engineers” whose failure to live up to the expectation of their callings? could lead to anarchy, chaos and poverty.
He particularly called on defence lawyers to resist the urge to commit crimes in the process of defending their clients, warning that they could easily end up being prosecuted.?? He said, “Defence counsel, my dear colleagues, should avoid ending up as a partner in the crime by sharing guilt and proceeds of that crime.
“A lawyer’s role should not degenerate from that of a legitimate defence counsel to becoming an accomplice after the fact.
“A lawyer who is over-enthusiastic in the defence of his client and crossing the line from being a lawyer to becoming a co-defendant will be prosecuted as such.
“We should avoid any urge of committing fraud, money laundering, perjury and so on in the process of trying to defend our clients.
“We should never forget our status as ministers in the temple of justice. That status prevails over any other duty, even over the duty we owe to our clients. “I therefore appeal once again that our colleagues should never ever cross over from the Bar because if they do that they may end up in the dock.”