…Says witness not in position to tender it
The defence team in the ongoing trial of the two engineers of the collapsed Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) building, on Monday, objected to the admissibility into evidence of a Compact Disc (CD) video recording of the building collapse before an Ikeja High Court.
During continuation of the testimony of Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Physical Planning and Urban Development on Monday, the defence, led by Chief E.L Akpofure (SAN), objected to the admissibility of the CD which contained a Close Circuit Television (CCTV) recording of an aircraft hovering above the building moments before its collapse.
Akpofure said: “My Lord, I am objecting My Lord in the first place to the admissibility of document sought to be tendered by the prosecution because it has been labeled by the witness as being computer generated.
“The witness in his evidence had said, ‘until I watch the CD, I won’t be in a position to ascertain whether this is the video I am referring to in my evidence.’
This witness is not in a position to tender this evidence until he sees the content and identifies same.
“This document is labeled as a Certified True Copy (CTC) of planning permit, which has nothing to do with the video the witness is talking about and from his own evidence, the computer that produced the recording was not operated by him.”
Also, Mrs. Titi Akinlawon (SAN) objected to the admissibility of the video, saying, “It is only the maker of a document that can tender it as evidence according to Section 83 of the Evidence Act.
“This document was not certified by him and on the strength of this, I admit that the document cannot be admitted as evidence.”
In his own objection, Mr. Olalekan Ojo said “The document is a copy of the original recording that was given to the Lagos State Government by the General Overseer of SCOAN.
“Being a copy, it is my general submission that for admissibility in evidence, the prosecution has a duty to have what is being sought to be tendered by them authenticated by the church being the maker of the evidence.
“I submit that the document is inadmissible in law because it is a secondary evidence of the original.”
In her response, Mrs. Idowu Alakija, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) said the CD was admissible as evidence.
Alakija averred that the witness does not need to be the maker of the document for it to be admissible in evidence, and that a document is admissible irrespective of how it was obtained.
“My Lord, Section 258 of the Evidence Act states clearly what can be classified as a document and this CD that has been certified I submit is a document, she said.”
Earlier at the resume of the trial, Ayinde had told the court while being led in evidence by Alakija that he could not identify the contents of the CD until he viewed its contents.
“We had sent a copy of the CD to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Ministry of Justice and at the time of the incident, other copies were made for personal use of some individuals, the video which went viral on the internet was also downloaded by the public.
“In my office, my Personal Assistant used a HP laptop to reproduce copies which was a normal process, the laptop was used for official work and as at the time of me leaving office, that laptop was still in good condition.
“Until I watch the contents of the CD about to be tendered as evidence, I won’t be in a position to ascertain whether this is the video I am referring to,” the witness said.