By Aishat Momoh

Dr. Richard Somiari the eleventh and last prosecution witness, in the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu who was accused of the murder of Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Micheal Ataga, has said that the DNA blood samples found on chidinma's red blouse is a match with that of Usifo Ataga.

Dr. Somiari who testified before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square on Tuesday mentioned that in his findings, there was a link between the red dress and the victim, and this profile we generated from the red dress did not match the profile of Chidinma Ojukwu, one Babalola Disu and Oluwatomi Dada. 

Ojukwu, a former 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, is charged with the murder of Ataga, the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu and one Adedapo Quadri.

Dr. Richard Somiari is the Centre Director/ Consultant for the Lagos State DNA and Forensics Centre and he testified as the eleventh prosecuting witness (PW11) in the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu.

While being led in evidence by the Lagos State Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Adenike Oluwafemi, the criminalist, stated that he has the highest level of oversight and produces administrative and technical reviews of report. 

He also said: "I take part in evidence examination and crime scene processing. 

"I have a PhD in Bio-chemistry. I have been practicing in the area forensics for 15 years and have conducted up to 500 forensics tests."

Giving his testimony, he said: "We received items of evidence from the investigative police officers. 

The forensic analyst told the court that his office received 21 different items on different days from their DNA centre staff members. He said the items were received for evidence and they included a stained red dress, an army green Tshirt, a DNA sample from Chidinma Ojukwu.

He added that other items received were urine, blood, gastric content and byle which were retained for toxicology report. He said that the goal was to create an evidence triangle to link the suspect to the crime scene and the victim.

"In June, I received two different items of evidence from Rasak Oseni. An army green coloured T-shirt and a DNA reference sample from Chidinma Ojukwu. 

"On July 14, 2021, we received five items of evidence, these were items retained in autopsy. They were Urine, blood, gastric content, and bile. These were received from Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Bamidele Olusegun, they were retained for toxicology."

During cross examination by the first defendant’s counsel, Onwuka Egwu, Dr Somiari narrated how the report was forwarded from the office of the Assistant Inspector General to the Attorney General of Lagos state and the Commissioner of Police Lagos State. 

"We have a code we use on that report markef 22021F-003. This code linked to his file, gives you access to the file at the DNA centre. And that links to the code used by the police and the pathologist. 
This is standard practice, we do that to guard against unconscious bias."

The witness confirmed that his office received the report from the NMS laboratory and that it forwarded same report to the Assistant Inspector General, the Attorney General of Lagos state and the Commissioner of Police Lagos State. 

The defense counsel queried if that is the procedure for all the over 500 reports he has done and the witness said no, that it depends on the case. He however stated that he read the report. 

When asked if he queried the findings of Forensic Toxicologist, Dr. Andre Caroline Noble, he said: "I can't query the report of a toxicologist because I'm not one. 

"In my position as a center director, I make sure a report represents the samples of toxicology analysis. 

He disagreed that there is no evidence to indicate that the report he sent did not represent the items he sent. 

The witness was also told to confirm all the items as listed on the pages of the report from the NMS laboratory, 

He started that two members of staff of his organization visited the crime scene, that the investigating police officer gives them access to the scene. 

He stated that some items gotten from the scene were not analyzed because there were not considered probative. 

The witness answered that the samples were not submitted. He, however, said that the markers indicated in his report had nothing to do with the video. He had earlier said that some samples were in storage but not tested. 

The defense counsel requested for the video from the crime scene, to be played. The forensic analyst however stated that whoever took the video is not professional stating that there is no forensic reference. 

Defense counsel said: "Page five of the report, questioned DNA samples. It is the same red blouse, the Short Tandem Refit (STR) profile obtained from this item does not belong to chidinma ojukwu, babalola olufemi disu, which means they are excluded from this. Confirm this is what you said? 

Dr. Somiari replied, : "For every DNA, 99% of our DNA will match using STR." 

Counsel to the second defendant, Babatunde Busari asked,: It was in evidence that your staff visited panti in the course of taking samples, were you informed by those staff that any sample from the second defendant, Adedapo Quadri was taken?  
"No, the witness replied. 

Busari asked again, You referred to a toxicology report in effect of your report this morning and you also said you are not a forensic toxicologist? 

This means apart from receiving the samples from the Commissioner of Police, and forwarding same to NMS lab, you didn't take part in the toxicology analysis? 
The witness replied in the affirmative. 

"We intend to file a no case submission on behalf of the second defendant", said Busari. 

The third defendant counsel, C. G. Ugochukwu, said that she had no examination for the witness. 

She also said, "On behalf of the third defendant, we can go ahead with our own defense."

Justice Adesanya however, adjourned till May 30 for continuation of trial.

Post a Comment