April 26, 2016

‘Synagogue engineers’ return to prison, as court fixes date for bail

‘Synagogue engineers’ return to prison, as court fixes date for bail

The site of the collapsed building at the Synagogue Church, Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos.

By Abdulwahab Abdulah

The two engineers, Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun alleged to be culpable in the construction of the collapsed guest house at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) were on Tuesday sent back to Kirikiri prisons as the court fixed date to rule on their bail applications.

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo reserved ruling till May 3, 2016, after taken arguments for the bail from the counsel to the defendants.

The collapsed building had claimed over 120 lives many of whom were foreigners after the church collapsed, September last year.

The engineers, were last week sent to detention after they were arraigned for offences ranging from manslaughter and negligent, while the court fixed today for the argument of their bail applications.

Their hope of regaining freedom was however dashed as the court further adjourned ruling.

In her application dated April 19, 2016 brought pursuant to Section 115 of Section 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, counsel to Fatiregun, Titi Akinlawon (SAN) argued that the ‘ offences committed by the defendant is a bailable offences.’

” He has been charged before for the same offences at the magistrate court and did not jump bail. So if granted bail now, he will also not jump bail,” she argued.

Counsel to Ogundeji, Olalekan Ojo also told the court that ‘granting him bail will put him(defendant) in best position to prepare for his trial.’

However, opposing the bail application, the Director of Public Prosecution(DPP), Idowu Alakija urged the court not to grant the defendants bail.

She argued that while the court has the discretion to grant bail or not, “the 4th defendant (Ogundeji) does not have an address within the jurisdiction of the court and therefore may jump bail if granted.”

After taken their argument, Justice Lawal-Akapo adjourned ruling till May 3 while the defendants were returned to prison.

They had pleaded not guilty to the 111-count charge of gross negligence and criminal manslaughter brought against them by the state.

According to Alakija, the defendants committed the offences between Aug. 20 and September 2013.