By Onozure Dania – Lagos
The ongoing trial of a Danish man, Peter Nielsen, accused of killing his wife and daughter, before a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere, was stalled due to the inability of his lead counsel, Mr Olasupo Shasore SAN on health ground.
The case was scheduled for the defence to open it’s the case yesterday, but when the matter was called, the court was informed that Shasore the lead counsel to the defendant, was ill and as such the defence can’t open it’s the case.
Nielsen, 54, is standing trial for the April 5, 2018 death of his Nigerian singer wife, Zainab and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Petra.
The Lagos State Government accused the Dane of smothering Zainab and Petra to death at about 3:45 am at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island Ikoyi.
Nielsen was arraigned on June 13, 2018, on two counts of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. He denied the charge.
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Lagos State Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey closed the government’s case on September 20. Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile fixed October 25 for the continuation of trial.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the trial could not go on, as a counsel from the defence team, Mr. Mofiyinfoluwa Enitan, told Justice Okikiolu-Ighile that the SAN, was ill and he could not make it to the court.
Enitan also informed the court that their first witness Mr. Akeem Sanusi, was in court and that they were ready to open their case, until Shasore SAN, took ill.
He apologised on the lead counsel’s behalf and also told the court that they had contacted the prosecution team, about the development.
Enitan said, ” I humbly apologise on behalf of the lead counsel Mr. Olasupo Shape SAN, he is sick and could not make it to court this morning, he is having health issues and our witness Akeem Sanusi is in the court”.
” We contacted the prosecution team this morning that the learned silk fell ill,” He said.
However, Justice Okikiolu-Ighile, was displeased over the distruption of the court, as the case was the only one on the list for the day’s business.
The Judge said, ” The court has been disrupted today because of this matter, this is the only matter that was slated for today”.
Consequently, Justice Okikiolu- Ighile, adjourned the case to December 6, for the defence to open its case.
She further remanded the defendant in prison.
On the last adjourned date, the defence counsel, Mr. Olasupo Shasore SAN had cross-examined the prosecution’s ninth and last witness Dr. Idem Richard Somiari.
Dr. Somiari had stated that the defendant’s DNA was found in the apartment and on Zainab’s nightgown, but neither on the body of his deceased daughter nor in the kitchen where the bodies were discovered.
The expert also stated that he found the DNA of an unknown female in the kitchen.
When confronted that the crime scene investigation and forensic DNA analysis were deliberately aimed at gathering evidence and arriving at results showing that the Defendant was guilty of the murder, Dr. Somiari denied it.
Somiari stated that the forensic DNA team took steps to prevent contamination of the crime scene by putting on gloves, shoe covers, and disposable laboratory coats.
But when he was later shown photographs from his visit to the crime scene, he admitted that some members of the DNA team did not put on the protective gear.
Dr. Somiari was also unable to account for the number of people that had access to the crime scene in the period between the discovery of the bodies and the examination of the crime scene by forensic experts.
The prosecution witness also informed the court that samples for DNA analysis were only taken from three occupants of the apartment; the defendant and the two deceased persons even though six people lived in the apartment at the time of the murder.