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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

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Dana crash: Coroner threatens to close pathologist’s testimony

By: Adedokun Adetunji On: 09:33
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  • A Lagos State coroner court in Ikeja conducting an inquest into last year’s crash of a Dana Airline plane may cut short the testimony of the state’s Chief Medical Examiner, Prof. John Obafunwa, over his repeated absence from court.

    Obafunwa, who doubles as the Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, was absent for cross-examination on Monday and Tuesday.

    All the 153 persons on board and others on the ground were killed in the crash involving Dana’s MD-83 plane on June 3, 2012.

    Obafunwa’s testimony is crucial to the inquest, which is a system established to, among others, make recommendations and find out the cause of death, how and the  manner of death of the deceased in unusual circumstances.

    The forensic pathologist had earlier testified on the probable causes of the death of the victims and provided the details of autopsy tests and the identification processes conducted on them.

    Counsel representing the Lagos State Government in the proceedings, Mr. Akinjide Bakare, restated on Tuesday that the don was absent from court because of his “university duties”.

    “We are sorry, we did not envisage this after what happened yesterday (Monday),” Bakare said.
    He gave the same reason for Obafunwa’s absence on Monday.

    Counsel for Dana Airline, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), who was to cross-examine Obafunwa, on Tuesday expressed disappointment over Obafunwa’s absence from court.

    He said the adjournments suffered by the inquest were avoidable, if the offices of LASU’s Vice-Chancellor and the Lagos State Chief Medical Examiner were not being occupied by the same person.

    The coroner, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, who had wished to conclude the proceedings within the week, was forced to fix July 3 and 4 for the forensic pathologist to appear in court.