The coroner’s inquest into the death of Dowen College student Sylvester Oromoni (Jnr) commenced on Saturday at the Epe Magistrate Court.
After hearing the parties, the presiding magistrate, Mikail Kadiri, ordered the Police to immediately release copies of statements obtained during the investigation to interested parties, and that counsel make the necessary applications for certified true copies of relevant documents in the court’s possession.
The court also stressed 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 of JSS 1 student who died one week before his 12th birthday.
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, only the court has the authority to declare authoritatively on the cause of death of the JSS 1 youngster who died one week before his 12th birthday.
Mr Falana also pledged to inform the family to fully cooperate with the coroner’s directives.
Akingbola George heads the team from the Lagos ministry of justice representing the state government .
Anthony Kpokpo appeared for Dowen College.
Though the state government has exonerated the five senior students alleged to have grievously assaulted the late Sylvester, five other groups of lawyers namely – Ifeoma Esom, Imah Ayi-Ekpenyong, Izuchukwu Ohajinwa, Eze Ajiboh, and Olumide Akinnini – represented the underaged boys ranged between 14 and 16 years.
Mr Falana opened his address expressing dissatisfaction with the DPP’s release of its legal advice to the public, as well as the latest public statements of the outgoing commissioner of police Hakeem Odumosu on the matter. He also said the family’s request to the state and police to be availed copies of the autopsy report, police statements and other relevant documents were not granted.
In response, the state counsel Mr George Said the legal advice was not leaked to the press as alleged but forwarded to the Police SCID at Panti and the Court as required, and that anyone interested should apply through those quarters for copies.
The Chief Pathologist of LASUTH, Associate Professor Sunday Shoyemi, who attended the proceedings as a witness in the case added that the autopsy reports had been transmitted to the coroner who ordered the procedure.
On his part, CSP Oseni Rasak representing the Police said he wasn’t privy to any information by the police boss ordering the handling of the family’s request. This prompted the magistrate to issue an order directing the commissioner of police to immediately provide all interested parties with the needed information.
The Magistrate also said that it would at some point, consider the Oromonis’ request 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, counsel For Dowen College pointed out that the deceased died In Delta state.
The Nigerian Bar Association represented by Bernard Oniga was also ordered to apply formally to the court to appear in the inquest as an interested party.
Hearing was adjourned to January 21, 27 and 28 for witnesses to present their evidence starting with the side of the grieving family.