SCOAN Prohibition Suit: Parties to address court on ‘juristic person’ tomorrow
JUSTICE Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed tomorrow for ruling on an application filed by the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) against the coroner’s inquest investigating its collapsed building.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, which was earlier slated for ruling on Tuesday, the Presiding Judge, Justice Okunnu told the parties that a vital issue needed to be addressed before the ruling.
She said the issue was whether the coroner was a “juristic person” (who can be sued or can sue) must be determined before the court delivers its ruling.
Justice Okunnu, therefore, ordered the parties to argue on the issue at the next adjournment date to assist the court in its ruling.
It would be recalled that SCOAN instituted the suit against the Lagos State Coroner’s Court sitting in Ikeja and Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe presided over the court.
The Lagos State government had inaugurated the Coroner’s Court to investigate the cause of the collapsed six-storey building on September 12, 2014, which killed 116 persons.
SCOAN, alongside its founder (Prophet T. B. Joshua) had filed the suit pursuant to Order 40 Rule 5 of the High Court of Lagos State (Civil Procedure Rules) 2012 and signed by one O. M. Abimbola.
The suit was seeking an order of Justice Okunnu to restrain Coroner’s Court of Lagos State and the Presiding Magistrate Komolafe from exceeding the jurisdiction in the conduct of coroner’s inquest into the death of unknown persons in the collapsed building within the premises of SCOAN on September 12.
In the suit delineated ID/188MJR/2014, the church and its founder prayed the Lagos High Court to issue, “An Order of Certiorari to quash the proceedings of the first and second respondents in the conduct of the coroner’s inquest into the death of unknown persons in the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Ikotun Egbe, Lagos concerning matters, issues and circumstances other than what directly caused the death of the victims and the manner of their death.
“An Order of Injunction restraining the coroner from taking and continuing to take evidence/proceedings on the issue of approval and construction of the collapsed building, which issues are clearly outside the scope of a coroner’s inquest.
“A declaration that the decision of the coroner to summon the applicants to give evidence at a time when no materials were placed before the coroner against the applicants, is a breach of the applicants right to fair hearing.
“A declaration that the coroner who relied on his personal knowledge of the facts of the case is not a proper person to preside at the inquest into the death of people at the collapsed building of Synagogue Church of All Nations.
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