The coroner’s inquest Into the controversial death of Dowen College student, Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) kicked off on Saturday at the Magistrate Court, Epe.
A significant portion of the proceedings which was stressed by the presiding Magistrate, Mikail Kadiri, was that Parties should not make any public comments on the matter. In his response, counsel for the Oromoni family, Femi Falana(SAN) agreed that the coroner be allowed to take charge of the entire proceedings without any external influence.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria added that it is only the court that is competent to speak authoritatively on the cause of death. He also pledged to inform the family to fully cooperate with the coroner’s directives.
Mr Falana then told the court that the family’s requests to the Chief Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and the Commissioner of Police to be given copies of all reports and statements gotten during the police investigation and medical examination on the deceased 12-year old were yet to be granted.
Also, Akingbola George representing the Lagos Ministry of Justice denied that the Legal Advice exonerating some Dowen College staff and students from any suspected crimes, was leaked to the press as alleged by Mr Falana.
Mr George added that the Directorate of Public Prosecution forwarded the legal advice to the Police SCID at Panti and the Court as required, and that anyone interested should apply through those quarters for a copy.
The Chief Pathologist of LASUTH, Associate Professor Sunday Shoyemi, who attended the proceedings as a witness in the case also aligned himself with the state government’s position adding that the autopsy report in question had been transmitted to the coroner who ordered the procedure.
The court, after hearing other counsel, then ordered the Police to immediately release copies of statements gotten during its investigation to all parties and that interests counsel should make the necessary applications for the certified true copies of relevant documents in the court’s possession.
The magistrate also said that he would at some point, consider the request of the Oromonis for the court to inspect the school facilities including the sickbay where the late Sylvester was allegedly treated in November 2021 before he was handed over to his parents. But, Anthony Kpokpo representing Dowen College pointed out that the young Sylvester died In Delta state.
Proceedings was adjourned to January 21, 27 and 28 for Mr Falana to present his witnesses’ evidence.
Other lawyers appeared for the five accused senior students of the school – Ifeoma Esom representing Michael Kashamu, Imah Ayi-Ekpenyong representing Benjamin Favour; Izuchukwu Ohajinwa representing Anselm Temide; Eze Ajiboh representing Edward Begue, and Olumide Akinnini representing Kenneth Inyang.
Bernard Onigah of the Nigerian Bar Association also appeared in the matter, seeking to be joined as an interested party on grounds of public interest.