4th August, 2022
Former deputy senate President Ike Ekweremadu may not have a chance to leave Wandsworth Prison until May next year when his provisional trial will begin in a London high court.
On Thursday, his wife Beatrice Ekweremadu, who is on bail, appeared at the Old Bailey for a plea and directions hearing.
Ekweremadu and Dr Obinna Obeta, the third accused attended the session by video link from Wandsworth and Belmarsh prisons.
The defendants were not asked to enter pleas during the hearing and spoke only to confirm their identities.
Judge Richard Marks QC said the case would be heard by a High Court judge.
He identified a provisional trial from May 2 next year with an estimated length of three to four weeks.
A further plea and case management hearing was rescheduled for October 31.
The judge granted Mrs Ekweremadu continued conditional bail and extended the remand of Ekweremadu and Obeta.
Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice and Obeta face a charge of alleged organ-harvesting plot.
They were accused of the plot after allegedly taking a young Nigerian off the streets of Lagos and arranging his passage to London.
Prosecutors claim they planned to have his kidney removed at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north west London, so it could be given to their daughter who suffers from kidney failure.
The man is said to have refused to consent to the procedure after undergoing tests.
The Ekweremadus, from Willesden Green, north-west London, allegedly treated him as a slave before he ‘escaped’ and went to Staines police station in Surrey.
The alleged offences are said to have taken place between between August 1 last year and May 5.
The couple were arrested at Heathrow Airport on June 21 after arriving on a flight from Turkey.
Ike Ekweremadu and Obinna Obeta, from Southwark, south London, are charged with conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of a man with a view to him being exploited.
Mrs Ekweremadu and Obeta are charged with arranging the travel of the man with a view to him being exploited.
Prosecutor Tim Probert-Wood said previously that the case involved ‘exploitation and the harvesting of an organ.’
He said: ‘The case began on 5 May 2022 when the complainant presented himself at Staines Police Station and claimed he had been transported to this country for the purpose of his kidney being removed.
‘He arrived on 20th February 2022 and was taken to Royal Free Hospital where tests were conducted.
‘For the purpose he was there he did not consent to the taking of his kidney.
‘He returned to the house he was staying and his treatment changed dramatically.
‘He described being treated effectively as a slave.’
Martin Hicks, QC, defending Ike, has said: ‘We deny that there was any exploitation or any intent to do so.
‘The argument will be factual denial.’
Reported by Daily Mail