Justice for the Dead…Supo Shasore Calls for Diligent Investigation into the murder of Nigerian Singer by Danish Husband

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Justice for the Dead…Supo Shasore Calls for Diligent Investigation into the murder of Nigerian Singer by Danish Husband

Justice for the Dead…Supo Shasore Calls for Diligent Investigation into the murder of Nigerian Singer by Danish Husband
February 22
11:38 2019

As the world waits with bated breath for conclusive investigations into the death of a rising singer, Zainab, also known as Alizee, and her three-year-old daughter, Petra, the defence counsel, Supo Shasore, SAN, has challenged the two police witnesses about diligent investigation, particularly in a trial showcasing Nigeria’s justice system to the international audience. Zainab and her daughter were found dead at their Bella Vista Apartment in Banana Island, lkoyi on April 5, 2018. Her husband, Peter Nielsen, a Danish citizen, is the prime suspect in the gruesome murder and has been standing trial. The case has attracted local and international interest, with Danish journalists always in court to cover the trial, especially given the nature and circumstances of the deaths. The Danish Ambassador also never misses a sitting.

Shasore, former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State under former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, is the Danish national’s lawyer. In his cross-examination, he brought to the court’s notice the fact that the investigating police officers had not reviewed the CCTV footage from the apartment building; checked the telephones of occupants of the apartment; inspected all the rooms in the apartment or even spoken with the neighbours before concluding that the defendant was the only suspect. Shasore said that the role of the police is vital and if the police themselves do not conduct their investigation diligently then there could be a miscarriage of justice. In fact, he asked the investigator if he agreed that this case depends on the investigation; that a good investigation would lead to justice and a bad investigation would lead to injustice which, the Inspector answered in the affirmative.

Similarly, Prof. John Obafunwa, anatomy and forensic pathologist who conducted the post mortem examination pointed out the irregularity in the police handling of the matter, recalling that he was only called to examine the deceased persons on April 10, 2018, five days after the bodies were found. He stated that it would have been proper to call forensic experts immediately the deaths were discovered. He observed that certain changes may have occurred between the time the bodies were discovered and the time he finally got access to them. Obafunwa, however, concluded that Zainab’s death resulted from asphyxia with a closed craniocerebral injury. He opined that the asphyxia was caused by smothering of the victim. Petra, Obafunwa said, also died as a result of asphyxia with severe brain swelling due to smothering. He disclosed that a toxicology report on Petra revealed that there was no evidence of poisoning in her system. 

At the resumption of trial on Monday, February 18, a police inspector, Babashola Afolayan, told a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere that Nielsen was the principal suspect in the murder because Zainab had earlier come to the Ikoyi Police Station to make a report about how Nielsen allegedly assaulted and beat her up around 1 am on the same day. He said, “On July 18, 2017, the defendant’s wife came around 2 am and complained about the defendant that around 1 am, he pushed her to the bed and pressed her neck and beat her up; it was a case of assault occasioning harm against the defendant. She further reported that that day was the third time he would be beating her. She also added that she suspected that Nielsen was a drug addict, stating that whenever he took drugs, he beat her up; all these made him (Nielsen) to be the principal suspect.” ASP Gafar Oderinde, a police officer attached to the Homicide Department of the State CIID Yaba, who took over the investigation of the case from the police officers at Ikoyi Police Station, gave evidence-in-chief, narrating that his investigation commenced in February 2019. He stated that his decision to arraign the Defendant was based on his findings which were that he was the only adult male in the apartment; there was no evidence of any break-in; the nanny who could have gained access into the apartment through the kitchen door could not do so because the door was locked from behind; and the wound on the defendant’s finger could not be attributed to a fall as he claims. The Court adjourned the case till March 25 for the continuation of trial.


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