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DPP discontinues attempted murder charges with wife, files fresh charges against husband in medical negligence case

By  Daniel Jane

A Lagos High court sitting in Igbosere, yesterday discharged and acquitted the medical doctor of Excel Medical Centre Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, Dr (Mrs) Ifeayinwa Grace Orji, who was standing trial alongside her husband Dr Ejike Ferdinand Orji, over alleged attempted murder of a 17 year old patient.

Justice Adedayo Akintoye, discharged and acquitted her following an application made by the Director of Public Production Mr Yaqub Oshoala, that the Lagos State government wishes to discontinue with the case against the wife, Mrs  Grace Orji.

In an application dated February 11, 2020, Oshoala, said that the state has an amended charge, against the first defendant Dr Ejike Orji.

The DPP, however applied that the first defendant should be re-arraigned to take his plea.

While responding to the application, the defendants’s counsel, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde SAN, applied that the second defendant should be discharged and acquitted.

In her ruling, Justice Akintoye, granted application of the DPP and discharged and acquitted the second defendant.

The Judge said ” In view of an application of discontinuance dated February 2020, by the prosecution, the application is granted as prayed and Dr Mrs Ifeayniwa Grace Originally, is hereby discharged and acquitted”.

Dr Ejike Orji, will be re-arraigned on the next adjourned date.

However Justice Akintoye, adjourned the case to April 1, 2020, for continuation of trial.

Earlier, the third prosecution witness, Mrs Ngozi Ezi-Ashi, told the court during cross examination by the defendants counsel by Chief Ayorinde that she wrote a petition to the Medical Council of Nigeria, against the defendants, to seek justice for her son.

She also told the court that at the initial time, when Somtochukwu had the accident,she was happy that there was no physical injury.

Ezi-Ashj, said ” I did not think of any thing like fracture but I was shocked when the leg was casted with POP, at the hospital.

When asked, on what day the first defendant removed part of the cast from Somtochukwu’s leg, she said that on the next day on July 27, 2018, that the doctor told her that he was going to open a window on her son’s leg to reduce the pressure.

She said: “He told me that he was going to open a window on my son’s leg to reduce the pressure, I have never seen any person walking with a cast that has a window”.

When asked if she knows the meaning of comparted syndrome, she said that what she understands as comparted syndrome, is when a part of a body is cut, and muscle degenerates.

At the last adjourned date on January 21, during her examination in chief, the witness, had told the court that her son had 12 surgeries and 135 switches on his left leg.

She said that there was a sticky liquid coming out of Somtochukwu Ezi-Ashi’s leg, after Dr Ejike originally cut open a part of the cast on the back leg of the patient.

The witness who was led in evidence by the DPP, Mr Oshoala, had told Justice Akintoye that there was a large gash over Somtochukwu’s big toe and blister all over his four toes and a blister at the back of his leg that had busted and was oozing out sticky liquid.

During their arraignment, the Lagos State Prosecutor, Mr Babatunde Sunmonu, told the court that the defendants committed the offence on July 26, 2018, at Excel Medical Centre in Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Sunmonu said that the defendants attempted to murder a 17-year-old boy, one Somtochukwu Ezi-Ashi, by unlawfully causing grievous bodily harm to his left leg, recklessness and negligence.

According to the prosecutor, the duo caused grievous harm on the 17-year-old boy, by fixing a Plaster of Paris (POP) cast too tight on his leg without his consent nor that of his parents.

The prosecutor also said that the two doctors who were not orthopedic specialists, recklessly administered orthopedic medical treatment to the minor, from his upper thigh to his toes and deliberately refused to remove the said POP when requested to do so.

He said that the defendants deliberately removed the POP in a manner that put the life of the boy at risk.

Sunmonu added that the defendants unlawfully inflicted wound to the left leg of the complainant “when they lacerated his toes with a saw blade and concealed the act”.

The offence committed is punishable under Sections 230, 245, 251 and 252 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

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