The Lagos State government has charged Chrisland School Limited and some of its employees with the death of a 12-year-old pupil, Whitney Omodesola Adeniran, on February 9, 2023, during the school’s inter-house sport.
They were all arraigned on Thursday before Judge Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos High Court in Ikeja on a two-count allegation of involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent behavior endangering her life.
Mrs Belinda Amao, Vice Principal Nwatu Victoria, and Kuku Fatai, a teacher at the school, are among those affected. Ademoye Adewale, a hawker at Agege Stadium, is the other defendant.
Moyosore Onigbanjo, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Lagos, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who led the prosecution on behalf of the State Government, informed the court that the state had filed two count counts against the defendants. He requested that the judge allow them to enter their plea.
The defendants all pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them. Mrs Belinda Amao, the school principal, sobbed dramatically in the dock.
The Attorney General also informed the court that the state had 17 witnesses lined up to testify against the defendant. He requested that the court set a date for the prosecution to begin its case.
The defense team, for its part, informed the court that it had outstanding motions for bail for all of the accused.
Following that, the lawyers took turns advancing their bail applications.
The applications were not opposed by the Attorney General. He asked the court, however, not to grant release on self-recognizance and to impose restrictions that would secure the defendants’ appearance at their trial.
The court then took a brief break to write its bail judgement.
In her judgement, Justice Oyindamola Ogala granted bail in the sum of N20 million to the principal and vice principal of Chrisland School, Mrs Belinda Amao and Nwatu Ugochi Victoria, with two sureties in the sum of N10 million each.
The other two defendants were granted bail in the amount of 10 million each, with two sureties in the same amount, pending the outcome of the charge against them.
The court also ruled that the sureties must be residents of the court’s jurisdiction and that their financial situation and address be credible and verifiable.
All defendants must also provide proof of tax payment for the previous three years, as well as deposit their international passport with the court’s registrar.
The parties have also agreed that the trial will resume after the Easter holidays. The court postponed the start of the trial until May 25, June 1, 8, and 15.
Recall that Whitney was electrocuted while participating in an inter-house sport that Chrisland School, Ikeja, organized at the Agege Sports Stadium for its students on February 9th, 2023.
In fact, asphyxia and electrocution were listed as the causes of death in a nine-page autopsy report completed at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
She collapsed at the event, and the on-call nurse administered first aid. She was then taken to Agege Central Hospital in Agege, Lagos, where the on-call doctor declared her dead.
The two-count charge revealed that the defendants all killed Whitney negligently by failing to ensure her safety, according to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Dr. Jide Martins, who filed it on behalf of the state government.
They were all charged with reckless and careless behavior that put people’s lives in danger.
Sections 224 and 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 are violated by the offenses.
If found guilty, they each face a sentence of life in prison and two years in jail.
Source: Channel TV