The Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday restored the wig and gown of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Kunle Kalejaye, who was disbarred by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), in 2015.
The LPDC had punished the SAN for “conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner” due to private communication with the Chairman of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in 2008, while the SAN was representing Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party versus Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress of Nigeria,where Aregbesola challenged Oyinlola’s victory in the 2007 poll.
A five man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Dattijo Muhammad, unanimously reversed the decision of the LPDC on the basis that the Committee breached Kalejaye’s right to fair hearing.
The lead judgement read by Justice Centus Nweze of the Apex Court held that failure of a member of the LPDC to participate in the trial but contributed in the final judgment was a breach of the appellant’s right to fair hearing.
Kalejaye was disbarred on May 21, 2015 after the LPDC found him guilty of professional misconduct, he was said to have engaged in a “private and confidential telephone conversation” on MTN network with the Chairman of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Thomas Naron, without the knowledge of the other party, between March and June 2008.
On February 20, 2013 Justice Thomas Naron was compulsorily retired by the National Judicial Council.