Adeniran: Chrisland hires three SANs to defend involuntary manslaughter charges

Ogunsakin Mustapha
5 Min Read

A bevy of senior lawyers, including three senior advocates on Thursday stormed an Ikeja High court to defend Chrisland School, Opebi as Lagos State arraigned four members of staff of the school on charges of involuntary manslaughter, recklessness, negligent acts over the death of a pupil of the school, late Whitney Adesola Adeniran.

The late Adeniran, according to post mortem reports died of asphixia and electrocution on February 9, at Agege Stadium, Lagos during the annual inter house sport activities of the school.

The Lagos State government team led by the Attorney General, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, and the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP), Dr Babajide Martins arraigned Chrisland Schools, three staff members and a vendor before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of Ikeja High Court on Thursday.

The 1st to 5th defendants include Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Mrs. Belinda Amao, Nwatu Ugochi Victoria, and Chrisland School Limited.

Three senior advocates, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, Olukayode Enitan, Chief Richard Ahonaruogho, led the team of the defence lawyers which also included Ademola Animashaun, Mrs Bimpe Ajegbomojoh, while Mr Oluwatodimu Ige held a watching brief for the family of the deceased pupil.

The defendants were arraigned on a two-count charge offence bordering on involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent acts contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State filed by the state.
They all pleaded not guilty to the two count charge brought against them by the state.

Following their not guilty plea, Onigbanjo informed the court that the prosecution has lined up 17 witnesses to prove its case against the defendants. He prayed the court for a date to open his case against the defendants.

Counsel to the first defendant informed the court that they have filed application for bail for the first defendant who she said has been in custody since February.
Following grant of permission to move the bail application, she prayed the court for bail in liberal terms and that that would allow the 1st defendant to be coming from home for trial.

The prosecution confirmed service of bail applications of 1st and 3rd defendants and having been obliged with copies of applications for bail for 2nd and 4th defendants in court. Onigbanjo told the court that the prosecution was not opposed to the various bail applications but added that the terms should be such that would make the defendants come for trial.

Responding, the defense counsels informed the court that all the defendants, except the first defendant, were not in custody but came to court from their different homes.

Justice Ogala granted bail to the 1st and 2nd defendants in the sum of N10 million each with two sureties in like sum while the 3rd and 4th defendants were granted bail in the sum of N20 million each also with two sureties in the sum of N10 million each.

She ordered that all the sureties must reside within jurisdiction of the court, provide proof of financial status and three years tax payment to state government while they must deposit their international passport with the registrar of the court.
She further ordered that the residences of the sureties must be verified.

There was a mild drama in the course of trial as the 3rd defendant, Mrs. Belinda Amao, broke down in tears. The defendant who had difficulty going through the exercise had to be pacified by her colleagues before trial could resume.
Justice Ogala adjourned trial till May 25, April 1, 8, and 15.

Whitney Adeniran slumped on February 9 during the Inter-house Sports organised by the School and held at the Agege Sports Stadium. She was rushed to Agege Central Hospital, Agege, Lagos, where she was confirmed as “brought in dead” (BID) by the doctor on duty.

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