Lagos State High Court adjourns hearing of Synagogue church criminal trial

A Lagos State High Court sitting in
Ikeja on Tuesday fixed January 27, 2016 for arguments in a criminal
charge filed by the Lagos State Government against the Registered
Trustees of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and two engineers
over the September 12, 2014 collapsed building in which 116 people were
killed.

Trial
judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo adjourned the matter for hearing of
the applications filed by the engineers – Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela
Fatiregun, who are the 4th and 5th defendants respectively in the
matter, challenging the validity of the mode of service of the court
processes on them.
 
Ogundeji
and Fatiregun, the contractors in charge of the collapsed building,
were charged alongside the Registered Trustees of SCOAN, Hardrock
Construction Company, and Jadny Trust Ltd for the offence of failing to
obtain necessary building approvals and for murder of the 116 persons
that died when the building built in the premises of Synagogue Church
collapsed.
 
Specifically,
the 111 criminal counts charge filed against the defendants bordered on
their alleged failure to obtain approval for the collapsed building
contrary to Section 41 of the Urban and Regional Planning Laws of Lagos
State, and involuntary manslaughter contrary to Section 222 of the
Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State.
 
At
the resumed hearing, the Lagos State Prosecution team led by the
Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Idowu Alakija informed the court
that the state had complied with the order of the court to serve the
processes in the matter on the engineers by substituted means to their
last known addresses.
Alakija
said: “We have been able to serve the 4th and 5th defendants and there
is proof of service to that effect in the court file.”
 
She,
thereafter, presented the proof of service of the court processes
before the court, but the engineers did not appear in court.
They
both filled applications through their counsel challenging the
jurisdiction of the court on the ground that substituted service was not
known to the applicable laws in respect of the matter.
 
They
also argued that there is a pending order of the Federal High Court in
Lagos restraining the State Government from prosecuting them.
 
Meanwhile,
the court has adjourned for hearing of the applications, after which
the hearing of the main criminal charge would commence.
 

BOLA AKINGBADE
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
LAGOS STATE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
JANUARY 19, 2016

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