The Lagos State Government through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) in collaboration with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Colorado, United State of America has organised a 3-Day training programme on Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation for its counsel in order to sharpen their skills and improve in discharge of their duties to the people of the State.
Declaring the 3-Day training open, the Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs.Funlola Odunlami said that the training which was the second program on forensics in a series of training on Trial Advocacy in a modern age where science and the law work hand in hand adding that the inaugural training program on Forensic Evidence and Crime Scene Investigation was held in 2017.
Mrs.Funlola Odunlami stated that the collaboration between NITA and OPD has in many ways become the benchmark for what is possible in terms of capacity building and determination.
She further said that the training which is base on practical demonstration of the protocol for Crime Scene Investigation was important as litigation in Lagos State was on an upward trajectory with the opening of the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, the commencement of the second phase of the Centre which is Toxicology and the gradual introduction of forensic evidence in court.
According to her. “This means that Defence Counsel must also have better understanding of the science to provide the best defence possible for clients thus the need for the training”.
The Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary added that by the end of the 3-Day training which commences today, Forty officers in the Lagos State Civil Service would have acquired the requisite additional skills to increase their understanding of forensic science and crime scene investigation in law to further improve the level of performance in their daily practice and out of the courtroom.
Earlier, the Director Office of the Public Defender,Mrs.Olayinka Adeyemi said that the Office has continue to be very proud of the progress it has made in the quality of services render to its clients as a result of intensive training of its counsel.
In her words, “As public defenders our practice scope cuts across most areas of legal practice consisting of both criminal and civil litigation serving the indigent and disadvantaged members of the society in ensuring they have a voice”
“This requires that our advocacy skills be optimum and these trainings have assisted in horning the skills of each counsel assigned to the OPD”, she added.
Mrs Adeyemi stressed that the Institute (NITA) has for the third year running graciously agreed to come to Nigeria at no cost the Lagos State Government to train counsel in the art of advocacy and all its intricacies adding that in previous years as many as seventy (70) participants were drawn from the Office of the Public Defender and other departments of Lagos State Ministry of Justice have been trained in the art of advocacy, the art of cross examination, the opening and closing of statements and forensics.
While expressing delight on the cordial relationship with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Government of the United States of America and Lagos State Government, Mrs.Adeyemi urged the participants to take full advantage of the three days training to being offered to sharpen their skills.