Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has struck out applications seeking to stay of proceedings in the criminal charges filed against the registered trustees of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations and four others.
The judge struck out the applications on Friday following disclosure of intention by the defendants to withdraw the said application dated February 18.
The 111 counts filed against the defendants by Lagos State Government bordered on building without approval and involuntary manslaughter.
The defendants are being prosecuted in relation to the September 12, 2014 collapse of a six-storey building on the premises of the SCOAN in the Ikotun Egbe area of Lagos, which claimed no fewer than 116 lives.
Listed as the 1st to 5th defendants in the charge are the Registered Trustees of SCOAN, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company, Jandy Trust Limited, Engineer Oladele Ogundeji and Engineer Akinbela Fatiregun.
Their arraignment had been stalled owing to their application for stay of proceedings dated February 18, 2016.
They, however, withdrew the application on Friday giving the dismissal of their application for stay of proceedings by the Court of Appeal as the reason for their action.
When the case was called, counsel for the 3rd and 5th defendants, Mrs. Titilola Akinlawon (SAN), informed the court of the dismissal of her clients’ application for stay of proceedings by the Court of Appeal.
Akinlawon said in view of the development, her clients were constrained to withdraw their application for stay of proceedings filed before Justice Lawal-Akapo.
Counsel for the 4th defendant, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, aligned himself with Akinlawon’s submission.
Both counsel, however, informed the court that they had filed another application to challenge the competence of the charges filed against their clients.
In response to them, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Idowu Alakija, said she was not opposed to the defendant’s prayer to withdraw their applications for stay of proceedings.
Alakija also confirmed that she had been served with the defendants’ fresh application seeking to quash the charges.
She, however, said she needed time to respond to the application as she was only served on Thursday.
Consequently, Justice Lawal-Akapo struck out the defendants’ application for stay of proceedings and adjourned till March 22, 2016 to hear the fresh application.
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