The jury at the ongoing Old Bailey “conspiracy to facilitate and arrange travel with the aim of exploitation” trial of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, their daughter, Sonia and Dr Obinna Obeta, retired just before 12.40 (UK time) on Monday, after the judge finished both his summing up and giving of legal directions.
Shortly afterward, the Court usher led the seven women and five men into the jury room. All then carried their bundles of evidence and personal belongings and followed her into the room.
But before they left the courtroom, they were informed that their phones would be taken off them while in the jury room. The judge told them that he was looking for “a unanimous decision” and that they shouldn’t rush themselves. He told them to take as much time as they needed, noting that they should not be in a hurry.
Justice Johnson also said he wasn’t looking for a “majority decision” and if, while still deliberating, reached a majority decision. “No need to write me a note” asking if we can return a “majority decision as the answer is going to be a no.”
Meanwhile, the atmosphere is understandably tense among the Ekweremadus, well wishers and family as they filed out of the court. The Ekweremadus, three other children, Prince, Lloyd and Sylvia, went to their usual nearby cafe for lunch. Neither showed any bearish signs.
Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, told The Guardian he’s very optimistic that the senator, his wife, their daughter and Obeta will be found “not guilty.”