.Court to rule on collection of fresh blood samples February 20
There was confusion at a Lagos High Court, Igbosere, as a defendant in the ongoing trial of alleged killers of Funsho Williams, slumped in court.
Musa Maina (second defendant), slumped in the dock at the peak of an argument on whether or not the prosecution should be allowed to collect fresh blood samples from the defendants for forensic investigation.
Maina, who is said to be Asthmatic, has been in prison custody since 2006, along with the first defendant, Bulama Kolo.
Barely 45 minuutes after the defendants, Kolo, Maina, David Cassidy, Tunani Sonani, Mustapha Kayode and Okponwasa Imariabie were put in the dock, an obviously discomfort Maina slumped.
His co-defendants had assisted him to stand but the abnormality drew the attention of the trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Adebajo, who said he should be allowed to sit down.
As the trial proceeded, a seated Maina slumped for the second time, which created a feeling of unease in the court.
Worried at the recurrence, Justice Adebajo ordered his support staff as well as prison authorities to call for an ambulance from the clinic.
Maina, who was seen struggling with an inhaler, with tears and catarrh running down his eyes and nostrils, was supported by security operatives who made him lie down.
The court was rowdy for about 10 minutes with lawyers and litigants running round to assist the defendant. While some Asthmatic patients brought their inhalers, others were fanning Maina to regain consciousness.
At this point, Justice Adebajo rose and ordered that the defendant should be immediately taken to the clinic for medical attention.
About 25 minutes after the incidence and five minutes after the court resumed sitting, a nurse came into the court and was assisted by two prison wardens to carry the defendant into a Lagos State Ambulance, JJJ704AP parked at the court’s entrance.
Meanwhile, Justice Adebajo has fixed February 20 for ruling on whether the prosecution can collect fresh blood samples for forensic examination from the suspects.
The state government had in April, told the court that the exibits for forensic evidence collected from the defendants at the commencement of the case including Funsho Williams’ eyes have been damaged due to epileptic power supply.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, counsel to the state, E.I. Alakija reminded the court of the pending application.
She also brought to the court’s attention, a Motion on Notice dated October 28, 2013, seeking an order of court to take blood samples from the defendants for the purpose of forensic examination.
Alakija said the prosecution relied on all nine paragraphs of its written affidavit, citing authorities that allow for samples to be collected when trial in a criminal case is ongoing.
Objecting the prosecution’s prayer, counsel to the defendants, Okezie Agbara in a nine-paragraph counter-affidavit, told the court that the prosecution cannot open investigation at this stage of the trial.
“Since the prosecution said the initial samples have been destroyed by lack of electricity, which samples will they match it with?”
Agbara was interjected by Justice Adebajo who asked the defence lawyer if he watches crime investigation on DSTV.
“You ever watch crime investigation on DSTV? Evidence obtained from crime scene can be kept for 12 years and still valid. Such evidences obtained from wood and clothes do not need electricity for preservation.”
The defence counsel further argued that an accused person should be prosecuted within reasonable time, noting that since the matter has dragged since 2007, allowing the prosecution collect fresh samples will further delay the matter.
He said that allowing the prosecution will be a delay in justice, since justice is not only for the state but for the defendants as well.
Agbara also submitted that the prosecution’s prayer should be disregarded on grounds that an attached exhibit marked A, which is a ruling from a Magistrates’ Court was not signed by the Magistrate.
He said the ruling only contained the stamp and endorsement of the registrar of the court’s registrar, as such cannot be relied on.
After listening to the submissions of the parties, Justice Adebajo fixed ruling on the application for an order enabling the prosecution to collect fresh blood samples for February 20.
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