The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has fixed March 29, 2021, to rule on the no-case submission filed by a commercial boat helmsman, Happiness Elebiju, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Elejibu was charged on 11 counts bordering on involuntary manslaughter before Justice Josephine Oyefeso for causing the death of 12 passengers while conveying them to their destinations.
The victims drowned after the wave of a ship sailing along the Kirikiri waterfront made the boat, whose engine had been switched off during an argument between Elebiju and his passengers over the fare, capsize.
It was gathered that 20 passengers boarded the boat from Kirikiri to Badagry, but while on the way, the passengers disagreed with Elebiju when he indicated that the fare was N1,500, and they insisted on paying N1,200.
The helmsman allegedly switched off the boat engine by the waterfront because of the N300 difference.
However, when the boat sailed along, the wave made the boat drift towards a stationary barge, where it capsized and 12 passengers got drowned.
The state Director of Public Prosecutions, Olayinka Adeyemi, closed the persecution case against the defendant on February 4 after calling four witnesses, including the survivors of the boat accident.
Elebiju, instead of opening his defence, informed the court of his intention to file a no-case submission before the court.
At the resumed proceedings on Thursday, Elebiju through his counsel, Samuel Ogungbamila, told the court that the defence had filed a no-case submission before the court and that the prosecution had served them its reply.
He urged the court to discharge the defendant, saying the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant.
Responding, the DPP told the court that the prosecution had also filed its response, dated March 3, 2021, and urged the court to hold that Elejibu had a case to answer going by the evidence presented before the court.
Following the arguments of the counsel, Justice Oyefeso adjourned the matter till March 29 for ruling.
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