The Lagos State Office of Public Defender (OPD) in collaboration with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), U.S has organised a three-day training on Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation for operational efficiency of its lawyers.
Declaring open the programme on Monday in Lagos, the Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami said that the training was the second in the series, as the first, which was on Forensic Evidence and Crime Scene Investigation was held in 2017.
She stated that the collaboration between the OPD and NITA has become the benchmark for what is possible in terms of capacity building and determination for counsels in a modern era where science and the law work hand in hand.
She further said that the training, was based on practical demonstration of the protocol for Crime Scene Investigation and very important as litigation in Lagos State was on an upward trajectory with the opening of the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre.
According to her “This means that Defence Counsel must also have a better understanding of the science to provide the best defence possible for clients thus the need for the training”.
The Solicitor General added that by the end of the training, 40 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 in and out of the courtroom.
Earlier, the Director of the OPD, Mrs. Olayinka Adeyemi acknowledged an improvement in the service of the office following intensive training of its counsels.
“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 that they have a voice”, she said.
“This requires that our advocacy skills must be optimum and these trainings have assisted in honing the skills of each counsel assigned to the OPD”, she added.
Adeyemi stressed that NITA has for the third year running trained the counsels in Nigeria at no cost to the Government on the art of advocacy and all its intricacies, adding that in previous years, no fewer than 70 participants drawn from the OPD and other departments of the Ministry had been trained in the art of advocacy and cross-examination, as well as opening and closing of statements and forensics.
While expressing delight on the cordial relationship existing among the Lagos state government, the NITA and U.S Government, Adeyemi urged participants to take advantage of the programme to sharpen their skills.