Synagogue Collapsed Building: Judge’s Workload Forces Court To Adjourn Case

Ogunsakin Mustapha
3 Min Read

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo sitting at the Ikeja High Court on Thursday again adjourned hearing of adoption and final written addresses on the Synagogue Church of All Nations( SCOAN) collapsed building trial to May 27, 2021 due to work load of cases in his court.

Lagos State Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Titi Shita-Bey appeared for the state with two other lawyers, while three Senior Advocates, Mr E Akpofure SAN, Mrs Titi Akinlawon SAN, Mr Olalekan Ojo SAN, and Oluseye Diyan appeared for the defendants.

At the resumed hearing, the court was formally briefed and served a copy of death certificate on the death of the 5th defendant, Mr. Akinbola Fatiregun, one of the engineers earlier released on bail but who died in October, 2020.

The defendant left in the suit is now Engineer Oladele Ogundeji and companies; Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited.

Lagos State Government had charged SCOAN over the building collapse which killed 116 worshippers of the church on September 12, 2014.

They are facing trial on 110-count charge of involuntary manslaughter, while the Registered Trustees of SCOAN were charged with building without approval.

The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions accused the defendants of violating Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning Law of Lagos State, 2010, as well as Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
They were arraigned on April 19, 2016, but they pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed hearing of the trial some applications were moved and not opposed by counsels.
However Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, reiterated that the defence counsel file final written addresses as the judge said he needed more time to write the judgement on the case which he said he has already started.

He appealed to the counsel to bear with him as he said, “It is not convenient for me to take the adoption of final written addresses because of the workload in this court.

Consequently Justice Lawal-Akapo, adjourned the case until May 27, 2021 for adoption and final written addresses.

In December 20, 2019, the defendants closed their case, after the cross examination of their last witness by the prosecution.
The state had said the defendants violated Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011 as well as Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning Law of Lagos State 2010.

Earlier adoption of final written addresses in the five-year-old trial was earlier scheduled for July, 2020, further adjourned till September 24, 2020, until it came up this morning, only to be adjourned once more.

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