Friday, 6 May 2022

Court Fixes Today As Judgment In Case Of Danish Man Accused Of Killing Wife, Daughter In Lagos

The Lagos High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square will on Friday deliver judgment in the case against a Danish man, Peter Nielsen, accused of killing his Nigerian wife and daughter.

At the last sitting of the court on March 1st, Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile had fixed the date for judgment after lawyers in the matter adopted their final written addresses.

The Lagos State Government had arraigned the defendant, Peter Nielsen before the court on a two-count charge of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2015.

The state submitted that the defendant, aged 53, allegedly killed his Nigerian musician wife, Zainab also known as Alizee, and his daughter on April 5, 2018, at about 3.45 am at their Banana Island residence in the Ikoyi area of Lagos.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder punishable under Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

At the last sitting of the court on March 1, the defence counsel, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olasupo Shasore, while moving the final written submission, asked the court to acquit and discharge his client.

Shasore raised two issues for the determination of the court, which he said relate to the defendant’s right to a fair hearing.

He cited the ruling of the court on July 19, 2021, where the judge dismissed an application seeking to discharge Peter Nielsen, accused of killing his Nigerian wife and daughter, from the murder trial.

Shasore had in that application applied to the court for the production of an exhibit, the nightgown the deceased wore the night she was killed. He asked for the exhibit to be produced for DNA testing.

Shasore also said he had applied for a search on the court’s record but was told that the exhibit could not be found due to the burning of the court on October 21, 2020, during the #ENDSARS saga.

He submitted at the time that since the exhibit was missing, substantial justice would not be done to the defendant in the absence of the exhibit.

“When we made our application, we did not know that exhibit PWN would not be found. In the absence of exhibit PWN, it means that the defendant’s constitutional rights have been violated. Also that the court itself has been deprived of the opportunity to evaluate PWN,” the SAN said.

“This PWN is the nightgown the deceased was wearing at the time of her death and the DNA analysis was derived from it. The expert witness called by the prosecution, in his testimony, based his entire evidence on PWN,” Shasore said.

Justice Okikiolu-Ighile had ruled that the submission, though brilliant, was premature.

The judge held that both the prosecution and defence had called several witnesses and tendered several exhibits which were not premised on the said exhibit.

“Therefore, at the end of the proceedings, when all the evidence has been given and final written addresses adopted, the court will then evaluate the totality of all the evidence before it.

“The submission of the learned silk is premature, the application sought, and the consequential relief is hereby dismissed,” the judge held.

On the second issue raised by the defence counsel, the SAN noted that it was a very crucial point, the assumption that there was an eyewitness.

He said “We submit that there was no eyewitness, the so-called eyewitness said she was behind the children’s door, and being behind the children’s door to see the Master’s bedroom, is practically impossible.

“We urge your Lordship to consider all the defence, submissions on all the evidence collected by the state and which was not produced, the DNA testing it collected and were not produced. We have a reasonable doubt in favour of the defendant’s innocence,” he insisted.

“I urge the court to uphold, our argument and after four years in detention, your Lordship should acquit and discharge the defendant so that he can properly mourn his wife and daughter,”.

In his response, Adebayo Haroun, the Lagos State Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, said “We have replied to all the issues raised by the defence, including the two points raised by the learned senior counsel, the eye witness PW6 and the circumstantial evidence placed before your Lordship.

“The prosecution has been able to prove its case without reasonable doubt that Peter Nielsen, murdered Zainab Nielsen and Petra Nielsen, on April 5, 2018. My lord we do not have anything to add to the final written address, we urge your Lordship to convict the defendant as charged,” he said.

The court subsequently adjourned to May 6 for judgment

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