By: Okosun Dennis
At the resumed hearing on Thursday at Ikeja High Court of the collapsed building of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo again adjourned adoption of final written addresses to May 27, 2021 due to work load of cases in his court.
The court was formally briefed and served a copy of the death certificate of the 5th defendant, Engineer Akinbola Fatiregun, one of the engineers earlier released on bail but who died in October, 2020.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Government had charged SCOAN over the building collapse which killed 116 worshippers of the church on September 12, 2014.
The defendants left in the suit are now Engineer Oladele Ogundeji and companies: Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Limited.
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 on Thursday some applications for regularization were moved and granted without oppositions.
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 27th, 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.
However, counsels to the synagogue Church of All Nation, Mr E. Akpofure (SAN), Mrs Titi Akinlawon (SAN), Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Oluseye Diyan and five other counsels asked for the regularisation of all the files.
In addition, the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Titi Shita-Bey who appeared with two other lawyers from the ministry requested for the removal of the name of the 5th defendant which was granted by the presiding judge.