Court orders parties to produce witnesses in Oromoni’s inquest
Magistrate Mikhail Kadiri, sitting in Epe, Lagos, has ordered parties in an ongoing coroner inquest into the death of an 11-year-old Dowen College student, Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr), to produce their witnesses in court tomorrow, January 31, 2022.
The order was sequel to an application by Mr. Olawanle Taiwo of Femi Falana’s Chambers, who requested that the coroner should adjourn the hearing indefinitely.
Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights activist, is the Oromonis’ family counsel.
The counsel, on Thursday, said failure to file their witnesses dispositions “is a disrespect to order of the court.”
He premised his position on grounds that other parties had not filed their witnesses’ depositions in the ongoing fact-finding on Sylvester’s controversial death.
Meanwhile, Friday’s proceedings were scheduled to take the deceased father’s and sister’s testimonies. Both were absent in court.
But, the Deputy Director, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Akin George and Principal counsel, Mr. Seun Akinde, who represented the Lagos State government, Mr. Tony Popo of Dowen College, and lawyers representing the five students alleged of complicity in Sylvester’s death, vehemently opposed the application to adjourn sine die, as they argued that it wasn’t made in the interest of justice.
Kadiri, therefore, ruled that the application was vexatious, as the court had already ruled on the matter, giving parties till February 1, 2022 to file all witnesses’ depositions. The court ordered all parties to produce their witnesses in court on Monday, January 31, 2022.
The court also notified parties that subsequent sittings would hold in Ikeja.
Earlier, the court also dismissed an application by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Lagos chapter, seeking to join as an interested party.
The group’s counsel, Ayo Shabi of the Chambers of George Ikoli (SAN), had argued that it was in the interest of justice to be joined in the inquest, because the deceased was an Ijaw indigene.
The IYC had previously rejected the advice issued by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), exonerating students and officials of the school from Sylvester’s death.
Akin George and others opposed to it. They submitted that IYC was not a necessary party but an interested party, as the whole world was interested. He said the boy was not only an Ijaw son, but also that of Lagos State, by virtue of schooling in Lagos.
The position held by the court was that IYC wasn’t a necessary party, as their interest was already subsumed in the deceased’s family. He, subsequently, adjourned further hearing to tomorrow, January 31, 2022.
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