The Coroner inquest set up to investigate the cause of death of Whitney Adeniran, a 12-year-old student of Chrisland school, has fixed 4 April for the commencement of the hearing.
Magistrate Olabisi Fajana announced the adjournment on Monday during the sitting at Ogba Magistrate Court, Lagos.
The counsel to the deceased family, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), informed the court that he could not file a witness statement as instructed by the court.
Mr Falana added that the Magistrate Registry refused to process the enrolment because there was no provision for filing of coroner processes.
The counsel to Chrisland School, Olukayode Enitan, and the Lagos State Counsel, Akin George, corroborated Mr Falana’s position, as they sought the court’s directives on how to file the processes.
In response, Mrs Fajana informed the counsels that she would communicate the directive approved by the Chief Magistrate.
School requests samples
Reacting to the allegations of the demand for the deceased’s exhumation, the school’s counsel said there was no such application.
He, however, confirmed that it requested samples to carry out an independent evaluation.
In a counter-reaction, Mr Falana told the court that the autopsy of the deceased was done in the presence of the doctors who represented the school and the parents.
However, the Lagos State Counsel told the court that what the state received is a letter not an application for the samples, adding that any application concerning the coroner’s inquest must be granted by the court.
Thereafter, Mrs Fajana adjourned the commencement of trial till 4 April and advised all counsels to ensure that all their processes were filed and confirmed on 3 April.
Magistrate urges accurate reporting
The counsel to the school requested the need for reduced interference with the public to preserve the integrity of the proceedings.
He said all parties concerned should allow the proceedings and stop the interference by the press, noting that different stories and allegations are made up every day.
In reaction, the magistrate said it is an open case and the press cannot be stopped from working. She, however, urged journalists to engage only in accurate and credible reporting of the case.
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Following the unfortunate death of the student, the deceased’s parents initially accused the school management of negligence.
They took to social media to seek public intervention to unravel the circumstances that may have led to their daughter’s sudden death while taking part in the sporting events.
The parents insisted that the lack of an ambulance or first aiders at the venue of the sporting events contributed to the student’s death.
In reaction, the Chairperson of the school’s Advisory Board, Ike Ofuokwu, noted in a statement that the 12-year-old deceased “slumped in public view and not under any hidden circumstances.”
“Our immediate response was to take advantage of proximity by identifying the nearest medical facility to take her to, where the doctor on duty administered oxygen and every aid possible on her,” said Mr Ofuokwu.
According to the statement, the student opted not to participate in the inter-house sports match-past “for reasons we were not very sure about.”
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