Witness’ absence stalls Dane’s ‘twin murder’ trial

A Lagos High Court in Igbosere Monday adjourned the ‘twin murder’ trial of a Dane, Peter Schau Nielsen, till April 3, following the government’s inability to present its final witness.

Deputy Director of Prosecution, Dr Jide Martins, told Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile, that the witness, Dr Somairi, was not available.

Nielsen, 53, is standing trial following the death of his Nigerian singer wife, Zainab Nielsen and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Petra,

He was charged with the killings last June 13, on two counts of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Five people were said to be in the apartment on the night of the incident: Nielsen, Zainab, Petra, Gift and Favour Madaki, both of whom are Zainab’s step-sisters.

The government accused Nielsen of beating and smothering Zainab and Petra to death at about 3:45am at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island Ikoyi.

Nielsen denied the charge.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Dr Martins explained Dr Somairi’s absence.

He said last Friday during a pre- trial meeting with the witness, it was discovered that there were other essential information required by the prosecution which were not before the court.

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Martins said: “My Lord, the matter for today is for continuation of trial, but, unfortunately, Dr Somairi who is our last witness is not in court.

“We were in a pre-trial meeting on Friday and we realized that there are other information that is very essential and that information is not before the court.

“We hope that by Wednesday the information would be ready and we would serve same on the court and the Defence.”

“Our application is for the court to vacate Tuesday (today) and Friday. He is a vital witness, whose testimony will help the court. We are still coming back on Monday.”

But Justice Okikiolu-Ighile was not pleased.

“Learned Deputy Director, today is wasted, tomorrow is wasted, Friday is wasted. You have disorganised my list,” the judge said.

Defence counsel Olasupo Shasore SAN also expressed displeasure at the development.

The former Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice suggested that it was about time courts began awarding costs against the state, when it foists unplanned adjournments on parties, if the laws can be so amended.

“We are not in a position to oppose the state’s application. But with an IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) of over N30billion a month, the state is healthy enough to start paying costs,” Shasore told the judge.

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After listening to the submissions of both parties, Justice Okikiol-Ighile adjourned till April 3, for continuation of trial.

At the last hearing on February 20, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Gafaru Oderinde, told the court, among others, that Nielsen was billed to travel abroad six days after the incident occurred.

Oderinde said the defendant had already bought a flight ticket and he was billed to travel abroad on April 11, 2018.

When, during cross examination, Shasore enquired if he investigated any other person apart from Nielsen, Oderinde said no.

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