Funsho Williams’ murder: Confusion as defendant slumps in court

Funsho Williams was murdered in 2006.

A Lagos High Court, Igbosere, was on Wednesday thrown into confusion as an alleged killer of Funsho Williams, a gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, slumped during proceedings.

Mr. Williams, who was murdered in his home on July 27, 2006, was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in 2007.

The second accused in the murder case, Musa Maina, slumped in the dock at the peak of an argument on whether the prosecution should be allowed to collect fresh blood samples from the accused for forensic investigation.

Mr. Maina, who is said to be asthmatic, had been in prison custody since 2006 along with the first accused, Bulama Kolo.

The others arraigned for the murder are David Cassidy, Tunani Sonani, Mustapha Kayode and Okponwasa Imariabie.

Mr. Maina slumped barely 45 minutes after the accused were put in the dock.

His co-accused assisted him to stand up but the abnormality drew the attention of the judge, Adeniyi Adebajo, who directed that he should sit down.

As the trial proceeded, Mr. Maina slumped while sitting. This caused some confusion in the court.

Worried at the recurrence, Justice Adebajo ordered the court’s support staff and prison personnel to call for an ambulance.

Mr. Maina, who was seen struggling with an inhaler, with tears and catarrh running down his eyes and nostrils, was supported by security operatives who made him to lie down.

The court was rowdy for about 10 minutes with lawyers and litigants running around to assist the accused.

While some asthmatic patients brought their inhalers, others were fanning Mr. Maina to assist him.

About 25 minutes after the incident, a nurse came into the court to carry Mr. Maina into a Lagos State ambulance marked, JJJ 704 AP and parked at the court’s entrance.

She was assisted by two prison wardens.

After proceedings resumed, Justice Adebajo adjourned the case till February 20 for ruling on whether the prosecution can collect fresh blood samples from the accused for forensic examination.

The Lagos State Government had in April told the court that exhibits initially collected from the accused for forensic examination, as well as the deceased’s eyes, had been damaged due to epileptic power supply.

At the resumed hearing, the state’s counsel, E.I. Alakija, reminded the court of the pending application.

Ms. Alakija said that the prosecution relied on all the nine paragraphs of its affidavit, citing authorities that allowed for samples to be collected in an ongoing criminal trial.

Objecting, counsel to the accused, Okezie Agbara, in a nine-paragraph counter-affidavit, told the court that the prosecution could not re-open investigation at this stage of the trial.

“Since the prosecution said the initial samples have been destroyed by lack of electricity, which samples will they match them with?” he said.

The defence counsel further argued that an accused should be prosecuted within a reasonable time.

He said that the case begun in 2007, and that allowing the prosecution to collect fresh samples would further delay it.

Mr. Agbara said that granting the application of the prosecution would result in a delay in justice, since justice is not only for the state but also for the accused.

He also submitted that the prosecution’s prayer should be disregarded on the grounds that an attached exhibit marked A, which is a ruling of a magistrates’ court, was not signed by the magistrate.

He said the ruling only contained the stamp and endorsement of the registrar of the court, and as such could not be relied on.

Reacting to Mr. Agbara’s objection, the judge asked him if he had watched movies on crime investigations.

“Do you ever watch crime investigations on DSTV? Evidence obtained from crime scenes can be kept for 12 years and still be valid.

“Evidence obtained from wood or clothes do not need electricity for preservation,” the judge said.

He fixed ruling on the application for February 20.



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