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Dana crash: Court fixes Sept. 28 to rule on inquest

13 September 2012, 15:04

Lagos  - A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday fixed Sept. 28, to rule on whether or not to stop the ongoing coroner’s inquest into the June 3 Dana plane crash.

At the resumed hearing of the case, Justice Okon Abang, after allowing the adoption of the address of counsel to the claimant, slated Sept. 28 as date for ruling.

Abang also struck out a fresh application by the trustees of Access to Justice and personal representatives of four deceased in the crash, who wished to be joined as parties in the suit.

On Sept. 3, this year, Mr Joseph Nwobike, counsel to the Aviation Round Table, had filed an application before the court to stop further proceedings in the inquest.

The application is challenging the jurisdiction of the coroner to investigate deaths arising from air accidents.

Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, the coroner; Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Philips; the Chief Coroner of the state, Justice Lateefat Okunnu; and the state Attorney-General, Mr Ade Ipaye were joined as defendants   

The trustees are praying to be joined as amicus curiae in the suit, while the personal representatives of the deceased are applying through their counsel, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, to be joined as claimants.

Abang, ruling on the first application, described it as strange, adding that it was at the discretion of the court to call for amicus curiae where the need arose.

"The application before this honourable court is strange in law and has no legal basis.

"The court reserves the right to call for amicus curiae where the need arises. The application is hereby struck out", Abang ruled.

On the second application, the Judge said that it was not time for the personal representatives to be joined in the suit.

"The second application is premature and not yet ripe for hearing" he said.

NAN reports that over 153 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft lost their lives when the plane crashed into buildings at the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos, just as some residents also died.

A coroner inquest was subsequently ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash.

Komolafe had, however, on Sept. 3 suspended hearing in the matter indefinitely following the suit by the Aviation Round Table group.

On Sept. 6, Dana Air also sought to be joined as claimants in the suit filed by the Aviation Round Table group which the court granted. 



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