A Lagos State High Court has ordered a pathologist, Dr S. S. Soleye, to be a witness in the trial of a 51-year-old dock worker, Lekan Shonde, who allegedly battered his wife to death.
Our Correspondent had reported that Lekan, who worked in a port in Apapa, had allegedly beaten his wife Ronke to death at their home in the Egbeda-Idimu area of state.
He was alleged to have locked the door on the corpse and their two children, before the incident was discovered by a housekeeper who reported to the police.
The man, who surrendered himself to the police after days in hiding, claimed that he only slapped his wife during a disagreement on the night of the incident.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso on Tuesday issued a witness summons against Soleye, saying the summons was to ensure that the medical doctor testified as the first prosecution witness on the next adjourned date.
The state was scheduled to open its case against Lekan, but the trial was stalled due to the absence of a prosecution witness.
The prosecution team, led by T. M. Ashafa, informed the court that the first prosecution witness was unavailable.
“Our witness that was supposed to come today informed us that she was ill and would not be able to come.
“In the circumstance, we will be asking for another date to enable us to bring our witness,” Ashafa said.
Reacting, Lekan’s counsel, Robert Clarke (SAN), expressed his displeasure over the development.
He said, “There are instances where apologies are completely meaningless, this is just one of those instances.
“My Lord, nine witnesses have been slated as potential witnesses in the proof of evidence.
“This matter has been on for two years and the most important witness is the medical doctor that gave the post mortem, as this allegedly happened in the bedroom and there were no eyewitnesses.
“The medical doctor is a government official and with the greatest respect, may I seek the order of the court that the first witness should now be the pathologist as he is the only witness that this court wants to listen to.”
Justice Oyefeso, subsequently ordered a witness summons on the pathologist.
She said, “The witness summons to Dr S. S. Soyele is to ensure that the medical doctor testifies as the first prosecution witness on the next court date.
“Prosecution must get its act together and exercise due diligence as expected; a witness summons is hereby issued on the pathologist, Dr S. S. Soyele.”
The matter was adjourned till September 20 and October 3, 2018 for trial.