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T.B. Joshua Loses Bid To Halt Coroner Inquest

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Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) and its founder, Prophet Temitope Joshua, yesterday lost bid to halt the ongoing Coroner’s Inquest into its collapsed guest house, in an application filed before a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.
The presiding judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu held that the application was premature and lacking in merit.
She said: “I find therefore the present application lacks merit and has failed in its entirety. It is accordingly dismissed.”
On whether Coroner Inquest can be sued or can sue, Justice Okunnu said that although the coroner’s court cannot be sued, but the Coroner Judge, Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe can be sued in his capacity as a coroner.
Delivering her ruling, Justice Okunnu further held that the court needed to resolve the issue whether the coroner has acted contrary to the rules of natural justice by not granting the applicants a fair hearing and whether he has exceeded the scope of a coroner’s court.
According to her: “Sections 26 and 27 of the Coroner’s System Law of Lagos State 2007, empowered the Coroner to summon any witness to assist him in his fact-finding mission. There was nothing unusual in the summons extended to Joshua.” The judge said there was no evidence before the court that the Coroner had been biased against the applicant and therefore dismissed the suggestion.
She also held that the coroner judge had  the prerogative to take evidence from any witness he deemed relevant to reaching his conclusions.
The applicants (SCOAN and Joshua) had dragged the coroner’s court and the coroner, (Komolafe) before JusticeOkunnu asking  for a judicial review of the proceedings.
Their counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had asked the court to determine whether the witness summons served on Joshua to appear before the coroner did not constitute an infringement on his right to fair hearing.

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