A Chief Magistrate court sitting at Ebute-Metta, Lagos, on Wednesday, frowned at the disobedient attitude of policemen from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department SCIID), Panti-Yaba, for disobeying an order of the court to produce the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens and the contractor handling the project, who were indicted over the Collapse of a structure that killed about 35 victims.
Chief Magistrate Afolashade Botiku, the presiding magistrate had on March 11, ordered the remand of Mr. Robert Young and Mr. Taiwo Odofin, the managing director of Lekki Garden Homes, and one of the contractors handling the project, following a remand application brought before it by the police.
The police had urged the court to remand the two defendants pending when it will conclude its investigation on the incident.
At the resumed hearing of bail applications of the two defendants, Chief Magistrate Botoku, who stood down the matter for an hour, ordered the policemen to produce the two defendants before their bail applications could be heard and determined.
But to the surprise of the Chief Magistrate, the police failed to produce the two defendants.
Defending the police action, the prosecution led by Barrister Goddey Osuyi, from the Police Legal Department, informed the court that the police failed to produce the two defendants due to an intelligence report that that some hoodlums plans to attack the court.
Osuyi emphasised that in the interest of safety, it is not advisable for the police to bring the suspects to court.
However, lawyers to the two defendants, Mr. Olanipekun and Mr. Uangbooje who affirms to court that the police prosecutor had informed them earlier before the court sitting, urged the court to apply its judicial discretion in entertaining the excuse.
Consequently, Chief Magistrate Botoku in her ruling, disagrees with the police submission, saying that the court will not submit to a threat, which is the duty of police to ensure that adequate security is provided.
She consequently adjourned the matter till today, Thursday, while ordered that the police must ensure the the two defendants are present in court.
It would be recalled that the two defendants were arrested on March 9, after a five-storey building collapsed at Lekki area of Lagos State and killed about 35 people who are mainly workers in the structure.
The court had on March 11, granted an ex-pate application brought before it by the police, seeking to remand the two defendants in its custody pending when it will conclude it’s investigation on the incident.
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