Court dismisses application to discharge Danish murder suspect accused of killing wife, daughter
Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile, of a Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Belewa Square (TBS), Monday dismissed an application seeking to discharge a Danish, murder suspect Peter Nielsen, accused of killing his Nigerian wife and daughter, from the murder trial.
The defendant’s counsel, Mr Olasupo Shasore, SAN, had filed an application for the production of exhibit PWN (the nightgown the deceased wore the night she was killed) to be produced for DNA testing.
Shasore prayed the court to allow the defendant to go home on the basis that a relevant exhibit tendered before the court was missing, therefore, substantial justice would not be done in the absence of the exhibit.
Nielsen, 54, is standing trial on a two-count charge of murder.
The defendant was accused of an April 5, 2018 death of his Nigerian singer wife, Zainab, and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Petra.
At the resumed hearing, of the trial, the judge dismissed the defendant’s application after listening to the arguments of both defence and prosecution.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile, ruled that the submission of the learned silk was premature, though very brilliant.
Okikiolu-Ighile, held that both prosecution and defence had called several witnesses and tendered several exhibits which were not premised on the said exhibit.
“Therefore, at the end of the proceedings, when all the evidence has been given and final written addresses adopted, the court will then evaluate the totality of all the evidence before it.
“The submission of the learned silk is premature, the application sought and the consequential relief are hereby dismissed,” the judge said.
Earlier the defendant’s counsel Shasore SAN, had filed an application seeking an order of the court for a relief to allow the defence carry out a DNA analysis examination relied upon by the prosecution.
He also urged the court for an order directing the court’s registrar to produce exhibit PWN (the night gown the deceased wore the night she was killed).
Shasore said he had applied for search on the court’s record but was told that exhibit PWN could not be found due to the burning of the court on October 21, 2020, during the #ENDSARS saga.
He, stated that by virtue of Section 36 of the constitution, the constitutional rights of the defendant has been violated.
“When we made our application, we did not know that exhibit PWN would not be found. In the absence of exhibit PWN, it means that the defendant’s constitutional rights has been violated. Also that the court itself has been deprived of the opportunity to evaluate PWN,” he said.
“This is the night gown the deceased was wearing at the time of her death and the DNA analysis was derived from it. The expert witness called by the prosecution, in his testimony, based his entire evidence on PWN,” Shasore said.
The silk to told the court that Section 262 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, empowered the court to adopt all measures to enable it do substantial justice to the case.
He further stated that, in the interest of substantial justice, exhibit PWN must be produced, substantial justice will not be done if exhibit PWN is not produced.
“I submit that your Lordship should make an order that the defendant must be discharged on the grounds that this charge can not be tried in accordance with the constitution,” Shasore said.
In response to the defendant’s application, the prosecutor, Mr Jonathan Ogunsanya, urged the court to dismiss the defendant’s application.
He said that what happened on October 21, 2020, was a fact known to the whole world, adding that what happened to exhibit PWN was not the fault of the court, the prosecutor nor the defendant.
According to him, what should be done in this case has been spelt out by the law.
He said, “There are other evidence before the court for the determination of the charge, the denial of the constitutional right of the defendant is a non-issue in this case because it has been observed that the right of the defendant has not been violated at the course of this trial”.
“We submit that the application and the prayer for consequential relief be dismissed for lacking in merit,” Ogunsanya said.
The Lagos State Government had accused the defendant of smothering Zainab and Petra to death at about 3:45am at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island, Ikoyi.
Nielsen was arraigned on June 13, 2018 and he pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder which contravene Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
However, the case was adjourned to August, 2 and 4, for continuation of trial.
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