A Lagos High Court sitting in the Igbosere area has adjourned till May 10 to allow a Danish murder suspect, Peter Nielsen, time to examine new DNA evidence brought against him by the Lagos State Government.
Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile fixed the date following an application by Nielsen’s counsel, Olasupo Shasore SAN.
Shasore, a former Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, who accused the state of swamping the defence with “a bundle of papers” and a flash drive containing “almost 100 pages of scientific analysis” only a day before the court date.
Nielsen, 54, is standing trial for the last April 5 death of his Nigerian singer wife, Zainab and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Petra.
The government accused the Dane of smothering Zainab and Petra to death at about 3:45am at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island Ikoyi.
Five people were said to be in the apartment on the night of the incident: Nielsen, Zainab, Petra, Gift, and Favour Madaki, both of whom are Zainab’s step-sisters.
Nielsen was arraigned last June 13, on two counts of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015. He denied the charge.
At the last hearing on March 25, the state obtained an adjournment to enable it to secure its final witness, a forensic expert, and serve other “information that is very essential” to the defence.
But at the resumption of proceedings today, Shasore informed the court that the state had not kept its word about the date it promised to serve the new information.
Shashore said: “We were served, contrary to the undertaking, on Friday, 25th of March, at 3:35pm, with a bundle of papers containing two new documents, and, crucially, my lord, a brand new DNA report. A new report containing DNA analysis.
“The report is styled ‘Forensic DNA superseding report’. It concerns matters that occurred almost a year ago. The defendant was arraigned in this court in June 2018, a period of almost nine months.
“The state has prepared two DNA forensic reports, from which we prepared our defence. My lord, we are greatly prejudiced, that on the eve of the testimony of a forensic expert, the state will introduce new evidence without availing us of the opportunity to consider expert advice on this. A report that seeks to discountenance all we’ve done for the last nine months.
“We are disappointed at the conduct of the state, for putting us in this state. We are hereby applying for an adjournment, based on these, and we are at great pains to do so.
“To compound this, the state served us yesterday (Tuesday), a flash drive containing detailed DNA analysis, almost 100 pages of scientific analysis.
“We are at great pains to seek this adjournment because we are anxious that the defendant will be set free.”
But in her response, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Titilayo Shitta-Bey, explained that the state did not intend to delay Nielsen’s trial.
Shitta-Bey said: “I want to apologise to the Learned Silk; the service of the flash drive was not an attempt to delay trial.
“My lord will recall that at the beginning of this trial, the prosecution made an application for biological samples from the defendant for DNA analysis, and the court granted the application.
“The defendant’s blood samples were collected during the trial and subjected to various tests to build his DNA profile.
“It is the outcome of the tests carried out on the defendant’s samples that are now incorporated, served on the defence, titled ‘Forensic DNA superseding report’.”
She explained that the flash drive “merely contains an overview, summary of the scientific DNA report that we have already served on the defence….it contains nothing new.
“However, in view of the concerns of the Learned Silk, I will not be opposing the application for adjournment.”