Akinwale Akintunde

The Registered Trustees of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and other defendants in the ongoing trial of the collapsed six-storey guest house belonging to the church yesterday filed a no-case application before the trial court.

The trustees of the church and the two engineers who built the collapsed building – Akinbela Fatiregun and Oladele Ogundeji – are facing trial alongside their companies – Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company, Jandy Trust Limited before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Ikeja High Court.

They are facing a 111-count charge of gross negligence and criminal manslaughter preferred against them by Lagos State Government over the collapse of a six-storey guest house to which they plead not guilty.

The September 12, 2014, building collapse led to the death of 116 persons, 85 of who were South Africans.
The defendants, who were supposed to open their defence following the prosecution closing its case, told the court that having gone through the evidence submitted by the prosecution, it was clear that they did not have any case to answer.

The prosecution led by Ms P.K. Shitta-Bey, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), had in July closed its case and told the court that the defence team had finished the cross-examination of the eight witnesses in the case.

“We will like to inform the court that this is the end of the prosecution’s case,” Shitta-Bey had told the court after the defence team finished cross-examining the eight and last prosecution witness.
It was based on the development that the trial judge adjourned the case until October 5, 6, 19, 20 and 27 for the opening of defence.

Justice Lawal-Akapo, however, adjourned the matter till November 3, 2017 for the adoption of written addresses by the defence counsel.