Tayside and Central Scotland

Fury at law firm appeal oversight

Ekene Anoliefo [Pic: Ciaran Donnelly]
Image caption Anoliefo was jailed for 12 years in June 2009

A Dundee law firm has been castigated by appeal judges after it "forgot" to prepare legal counsel for a hearing.

The case against convicted rapist Ekene Anoliefo, the son of a Nigerian politician, was due to be heard at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh.

However, an unsigned letter sent to the court by legal representatives Caird and Vaughan admitted the oversight.

Judges described the lapse as "unforgivable" and called for the firm to be investigated.

Lord Justice Clerk Lord Gill said by sending an unsigned letter to the court, Caird and Vaughan were guilty of "gross discourtesy".

Anoliefo, 35, was jailed for 12 years in June 2009 after being found guilty of raping a teenager and trying to lure another into his home in Aberdeen.

Jurors at his trial were also told how he approached other women in the streets, assaulting one by pushing her against a wall when she rejected his advances.

His father, a politician in his local state parliament, had paid for Anoliefo to come to Scotland to study computer technology.

Anoliefo had hoped his legal team would convince appeal judges that his convictions for six breaches of the peace, committed between November 2007 and July last year, were unsound.

He has maintained that Lord Pentland's directions to the jury amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

However, Lord Gill, sitting with Lords Bonomy and Marnoch, heard that Anoliefo's solicitor had forgotten to prepare senior or junior counsel for the hearing.

Lord Gill said: "We will report Caird Vaughan and its partners to the Law Society to investigate the question of breach of professional conduct and also report the matter to the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

"They should consider the question of the expenses wasted by solicitors today and also to investigate the continued fitness of this firm and its partners to continue to act in legal aid cases."

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