Posted by By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku on
The Coroner, conducting an inquest into the death, on September 15 of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mobitel, Engr. Charles Alaba Joseph, yesterday said that there was no going back on the choice of the team of Pathologists from Nebraska Institute of Forensic Science...
The Coroner, conducting an inquest into the death, on September 15 of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mobitel, Engr. Charles Alaba Joseph, yesterday said that there was no going back on the choice of the team of Pathologists from Nebraska Institute of Forensic Science, in the United States of America (USA) to conduct a fresh autopsy on the body of the late Joseph.
The Coroner, Mrs. Ayo Odugbesan, who reaffirmed the order on the composition of the team, after a fact -finding visit to Mobitel office the scene of the incident also yesterday, invited, the receiver/manager, Mr. Kemi Pinhero, the two Pathologists, who conducted the first two autopsies, Dr. Oladapo Obafunwa and Prof. W. O. Odesanmi, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police Olayinka Ojo, to come and give evidence at today's proceeding.
Delivering a ruling on an application by Prof. Alfred Kasunmu SAN and Mr. Felix Fagbohungbe, SAN counsel representing Pinhero and Intercontinental Bank respectively, seeking a revisit of an earlier order on the autopsy, the coroner held that, the reasons giving by the two counsel were not enough for her to recind her earlier decision on the issue of composition of the team.
She stated that she was not convinced at the reason for allegation of bias by the counsel and did not also agree with their submissions on the issue of bias.
The coroner who expressed confident on the choice of the team from Nebraska, noted that all the counsel was present at the proceeding when the suggestion was made by the AG and did not raise any objection. "I am rather surprise at the opposition that arose. I am not convinced at the reasons for their allegation of bias. I therefore hold as follows; that the Paathologists from Nebraska will conduct the autopsy, that Prof. E.J.C Nwana will assist and will be part of it, that all the stake holders will appoint one Pathologist each to observe, that each stake holder will bear its own cost" the Coroner posited.
She also ordered that the team will now be led by Prof. Stephen Elesha, the Provost, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, while Nwana, a Professor of Pathology in the University of Ilorin, earlier appointed to lead the team, will only assist in the exercise, just as the two Pathologists, who conducted the first autopsies will only serve as observers.
Other members of the team are; Dr. Mattais Okoye Dr. Thomas Benneth, Dr. Paul Mellean and Mr. Dale William.
The choice of the Nebraska team became a subject of controversy at Wednesday's sitting when the senior lawyers, Kasunmu and Fagbohungbe declared their lack of confidence in the team.
Their contention was that Obafunwa, who conducted the first autopsy, which revealed that the victim died as a result of gun shot is a director in the institute and raised fears that he could influence the result of the autopsy.
The duo who said they had no confidence in the team and could not vouch that they are experts, asked the coroner to jettisson the team and appoint neutral forensic experts to conduct the third autopsy.
They had also sought to replace Nwana as the leader of the foreign team, since he was alleged to be junior to Obafunwa.
Specifically, the bank's counsel had suggested that the stake holders be authorised to produce a Pathologist of their choice each.
Their position on the choice of the team was however opposed by the AG, who maintained that they were chosen because they are experts even as he noted that Obafunwa is the Chief Pathologist in the State and was not appointed for the purpose of the deceased.
Besides , the AG pointed out that Nebraska in just an institute and not a school and ruled out the possibility of any of the members influencing the team.
Meanwhile, the Coroner visited the scene yesterday in the company of counsel representing the stake holders.
They were conducted round the mentioned areas; which included the man's, where his body was found and the shop of the Vulcaniser, from where his driver said he saw the deceased attempting to jump.
The driver and the two staff of Connect Card Links, who testified Wednesday that they had gone to see the victim when the incident happened were those who led the coroner and others at the scene.
The inquiry continues today.
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