Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Criminal trial charged against Synagogue adjourned to Jan 27

A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Tuesday adjourned further proceedings in the charges filed against the Registered Trustees of the Synagogue Church of All Nations and four other till January 27, 2016.

The adjournment followed applications by the 4th and 5th defendants in the case challenging the competence of the manner in which the charge was served on them.
The trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, had on December 11, 2015 granted an application by the prosecution to serve the 4th and 5th defendants through substituted means.
The judge ordered that the court papers should be pasted on the front doors of the 4th and 5th defendants’ residential addresses in the Alagbado and Ikeja areas of Lagos respectively.
He ordered the prosecution to file photographic evidence featuring the sheriff pasting the court papers.
When the matter was called in court on Tuesday, the prosecution team, led by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Idowu Alakija, informed the court that the order of the court had been complied with and the 4th and 5th defendants had been served.
But counsel for the 4th and 5th defendants, Chief E.L. Akpofure (SAN), contended that the service was only effected on Monday, despite that the order was made on December.
Besides, Akpofure argued that the manner in which the prosecution obtained the order for substituted service was unknown to law.
“The application they brought was an ex parte; we had no voice. What they have done, does the rule provide for it? If they went to pray for something that is not known to law and they went out to carry out the action, My Lord, we say it is a nullity,” Akpofure argued.
On her own part, counsel for the 2nd and 3rd defendants, Mrs. Titi Akinlawon, said she aligned herself with Akpofure’s argument that her clients were only served on Monday.
But Alakija said, “The matter was adjourned till today (Tuesday) to report that we have served the defendants, take the application and possibly arraign the defendants.”
The judge, however, noted that though Akpofure’s applications were not yet ripe for hearing, they needed to be cleared first before any other thi Ikotun area of Lagos.
Charged alongside the Registered Trustees of SCOAN are Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company; Jandy Trust Limited; and Engineers Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, who built the collapsed building.
A Lagos State Coroner Court, presided over by Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, had on July 8, 2015 indicted the church of building without approval, adding that the engineers were liable to prosecution for criminal negligence on the grounds that structural defect was responsible for the collapse of the ill-fated SCOAN building.
In the charge before the court, the Registered Trustees of SCOAN were accused of building without approval, while the engineers and the two companies were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Source Punch

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