..Say claims by Oraye St. Franklyn Esq, spokesperson to Mrs. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs untrue
Family members of the founder of Moni Pulo Limited, late. High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, have insisted that an inquest must be conducted on the remains of the late High Chief, noting that the inquest is to determine the rightful person to take the mortal remains of the High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs for burial.
The members also noted that the claims by Oraye St. Franklyn Esq, the spokesperson to the late Chief’s wife, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs, that the Coroner’s inquest is not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the District Magistrate court is untrue, stating that such is guaranteed as conferred by Act 18.
In a statement by Dumo Lulu-Briggs, second eldest son of the deceased, it also said that all the family members want is to be allowed to lay the remains of the late chief to rest.
Recall that Seinye Lulu-Briggs, widow of the late chief, last Friday, explained why she is against an order of a Ghanaian Court, Kaneshie district magistrates’ court, for an inquest into the death of her husband.
The Kaneshie district court in Ghana had granted an application filed by Dumo Lulu-Briggs, second eldest son of the deceased, for an inquest into his father’s death following the delay of an autopsy report earlier ordered by the court.
- K Barnes–Botchway, the magistrate, had said she has cause to believe that the deceased did not die naturally and deemed it necessary for an inquest.
However, she in her petition filed at the Ghana high court, Seinye argued that the magistrate lacked the jurisdiction to order the inquest because her late husband’s death happened outside the Accra metropolitan district where the court sits.
She said that the magistrate does not believe that her husband died of natural causes exposes her bias in the case.
“The argument that the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court lacks the jurisdiction to order an inquest on the death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, an octogenarian, is founded on good reason,” she said in a statement signed by Oraye St. Franklyn Esq., her spokesman.
“The matter is before a High Court in Ghana. The accusers of Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Briggs ought to know this. That since the Coroner did not have reasonable cause to suspect that my late husband did not die of natural causes, she lacked jurisdiction to order an inquest into his death,” she added.
But the family members disagrees with her, saying the inquest should be conducted.
According to the statement by the family, “It looks like Oraye St. Franklyn Esq. has settled into his new job as Spokesman for Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs and has as of 18th October, 2019, published a response to the Graphic Online report on Mrs. Lulu-Briggs’ challenge of the Order for an Inquest granted by the Kaneshie Magistrates Court. The said response is however fraught with presumptions and inaccuracies, and is unfortunate to say the least because the whole article was about putting out facts.
First of all he “presumes” that the online portal for Ghana’s national newspaper, https://www.graphic.com.gh/, is a “Ghanaian online tabloid”, and this is disrespectful to the Ghanaian media, which he obviously has little regard for. Also, he seems to think that an autopsy is the only basis for an inquest into the suspicious death of a person under the Coroners Act, 1960 (Act 18) and goes to great lengths to conclude that the autopsy was conclusive on the cause of death of a High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, when there has not been an inquest as legally required, to determine the cause of death.
Secondly, he says that the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court lacks the jurisdiction to order an inquest on the death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs because matter is before a High Court in Ghana. The Coroner’s inquest is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the District Magistrate court as conferred by Act 18 and no other higher court for that matter. Oraye St. Franklyn Esq has obviously not apprised himself of the contents of Act 18 and yet speaks about it as if he was so knowledgeable, which is again unfortunate.
Thirdly, the matter in the High Court in Ghana is NOT an inquest into the cause of death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. It is a matter concerning the rightful person to take the mortal remains of the High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs for burial. In the said case before the High Court, commenced by Mrs. Lulu-Briggs, she is claiming that the mortal remains of her husband should be given to her, which assertion is contrary to the customs and tradition of the people of the Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, Nigeria.
She has further filed a motion for injunction to restrain anyone, particularly the Chief of the Family, from taking the mortal remains of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs for burial apart from her. It is these court cases instituted by Mrs. Lulu-Briggs that have delayed the burial of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. Inspite, of her actions, her recently appointed Spokesman maintains that “The accusation that she …. is unwilling to release it [the body of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs] for interment is untrue.”
Interestingly, Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs has further challenged the constitutionality (compliance with the Ghanaian Constitution) of the said customs and tradition of the people of Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, Nigeria in the Supreme Court of Ghana, much to the chagrin of the Kalabari people.
Fourthly, Oraye St. Franklyn Esq. published information about the conduct of the autopsy, which are manifestly false. He said that the “other two pathologists were from the Ghanaian Police”, when it is trite knowledge that the Ghana Police Pathologist, Dr. Osei Owusu-Afriyie and the Nigerian Police Pathologist were denied access to the autopsy theatre by Dr. Lawrence Adusei and were not present at the autopsy.
Also, there was no “Ghanaian Prof. Akosua B. Domfeh of the Yale University School of Medicine” present at the autopsy as Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs’ second pathologist. Perhaps, Oraye St. Franklyn Esq. has not had the chance to get a proper briefing from his client or read about this matter, before penning the publication which he has put out in the Nigerian media. Or perhaps this is all deliberate.
The major issue arising out of the publication is the erroneous suggestion that the Order for an Inquest granted by Her Worship Mrs. Mrs E.K. Barnes-Botchway is a predetermination of the cause of death of the High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, when the Order only signifies the commencement of the enquiry into the cause of the death.
Perhaps, a little refresher on the legal requirements for an inquest is necessary for Oraye St. Franklyn Esq., who is himself a lawyer. The learned judge ordered that the autopsy report be submitted to her so that she can, along with other circumstantial evidence which had been presented to her by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs in his Affidavit, determine the proper cause of death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. The determination by the learned judge that the deceased had died an unnatural death is only a preliminary determination, much like determining that a prima facie case had been established, for the inquest to commence. The, learned judge is about to start the conduct an evidentiary hearing in the matter to settle the issue of the cause of death. It is unclear at this moment, why the Order for the Inquest has cause such fear and panic to Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs.
Curiously, the publication refers to a preliminary report on the autopsy. This report has, however, not been shared with the Ghana Police, the court or the family of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs.
What is even more curious is that the widow of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, who was one of ten persons on the fatal and last journey of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, is the only person who seems to have a problem with the enquiry into the death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. The rest of the persons have been silent.
One would think that the widow would embrace the opportunity for an evidentiary hearing in the matter, so that she can be possibly vindicated and the matter can be laid to rest, once and for all time, but alas not.
The statement said the cases by Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs deprived the family of her deceased husband the right to know the true circumstances of his death in December 2018, when he died and has continued to deny them the right to know even a year after.
“She continues to also hold the mortal remains of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs with her various applications to the courts of Ghana, currently numbering five (5), which have denied the Chief of the Family the right to set a date for the laying to rest of the mortal remains of their dear patriarch, at his hometown.
The report of the death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, which was required to be made by the widow, to the Ghana Police on the death of her husband outside of a medical facility, and which report was not made, has been eventually made by the Ghana Police to the Coroner, after 6 months of the occurrence of the death.
Finally, the true circumstances surrounding the death of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs will be known, in order that his family can get some closure. Perhaps, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, who was himself a defender of the rights of persons, and the Christian faith while he was alive, is fighting even after his death,” the statement concluded.