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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Adebayo Ojo V. The State (2018) LLJR-SC

Adebayo Ojo V. The State (2018) LLJR-SC

Adebayo Ojo V. The State (2018)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

AMIRU SANUSI, J.S.C.

This appeal emanates from the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Ekiti division (the lower Court or Court below) delivered on the 5th day of December, 2012 which heard and affirmed the decision of the High Court of Justice Ekiti State (the trial Court). The trial Court’s judgment was delivered on 18th May, 2005.

The facts giving rise to this appeal as shown by the record of appeal are simply that on 12th July,2003 the appellant attacked the PW1 in front of her shop with a matchet and inflicted some injuries on her left hand. According to the PW1, when the appellant tried to strike the second blow on her, the mask he was wearing on his face fell off and she was thereby able to see and recognise the appellant even though it was at night, but the moonshine was then very bright.

The PW1, the victim also testified that she knew him since both of them attend the same church i.e the Redeemed

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Christian Church of God at Ogotun, Ekiti. She also testified that during the attack, the appellant robbed her of her bag containing N22,000 and some goods valued at N8,400. She said when attacked, she shouted for help and she was rescued and rushed to hospital for treatment.

The appellant was later arrested and when taken to police station he volunteered a confessional statement. The appellant happened to be a student of a Polytechnic in Ekiti State. The appellant was later arraigned before the trial Court on allegation of armed robbery, contrary to Section 1(1) of Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. 389 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990. When the charge was read and explained to the accused/appellant, he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecution/Respondent called only one witness (PW1) the victim, to testify and closed its case. After the close of the case for the Prosecution, the accused now appellant testified on his own behalf as DW2 and called only one witness who happened to be his own mother, who had earlier testified as PW1 and he later closed his case for the defence. The learned trial judge Justice Omoleye J. (as she then was) in her considered judgment found against the accused/appellant and convicted the accused of committing the offence of armed

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robbery and sentenced him to death by hanging.

The accused/appellant obviously became dissatisfied with conviction and sentence hence he appealed to the Court below, although without success, as the latter affirmed the conviction and sentence passed on the appellant by the trial Court.

Miffed by the failure to succeed in his appeal to the Court below, the appellant further appealed to this Court.

As usual, briefs are also normally filed and exchanged by parties on appeal to this Court, hence in keeping with rule of practice, the parties filed and exchanged their respective briefs of argument. With leave of this Court however, the appellant amended his original brief of argument and thereby filed an Amended Appellant’s Brief on 24/11/2016 which was settled by Enewa (Mrs.) Rita Chris Garuba. In the said Amended Appellant’s Brief of argument, four issues were decoded for determination which are reproduced hereunder:-

  1. Whether the hearing of the appeal on an incomplete record of appeal violated the right to fair hearing of the appellant, thereby led to a miscarriage of justice
  2. Whether the failure of the lower Court to

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hear and determine the motion on notice of the appellant dated and filed on December 3, 2012 (sic) for leave to file and rely on additional brief of argument, and to consider the said additional brief of argument in the consideration of the appeal amounted to denial of fair trial against the appellant and thereby nullified the proceedings.

  1. Whether the appellant was denied fair hearing because he was not represented by a counsel of his choice and also was not promptly arraigned before the trial Court.
  2. Whether the reliance on the evidence of PW1 and Exhibit A to convict the appellant was justified

Suffice to say that Appellant also filed Appellant’s Reply Brief which I will address later.

On his part, the respondent with leave of this Court on 6/3/18 filed its Amended Respondent’s Brief of argument settled by the Hon Attorney General of Ekiti State Kolapo Olugbenga Kolade, Esq. which was also deemed filed on 15/3/2018 wherein two issues for the determination of the appeal were raised, namely:-

A. Whether the entire trial was not a nullity

B. Whether the identity of the appellant as a robber

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was established by the prosecution and thus proved the case beyond reasonable doubt against him.

It is worthy of note that in his amended brief of argument, the respondent also raised preliminary objection challenging the competence of issues 1 and 2 raised by the appellant in her Amended Appellant Brief of Argument. I shall address the issue raised in the preliminary objection when resolving the issues for determination later in this judgment. I shall meanwhile hereunder proceed to summarise the submission of learned counsel on the issues for determination raised by each of them.

SUBMISSIONS OF ISSUES RAISED BY APPELLANT’S COUNSEL

ISSUE NO.1

Issue No. 1 deals with whether the hearing of the appeal on an incomplete record of appeal violated the right to fair hearing of the appellant.

The learned counsel to the appellant submitted that the Court below erred when it proceeded to hear the appeal on an incomplete record thereby denying the appellant his right to fair hearing. She referred to Order 17 Rule 7 of the Court of Appeal Rules and submitted that the record compiled must contain all the items stated therein. She

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argued that the proof of evidence, the testimonies of PW1 and PW2 and the Exhibits used in the trial were not compiled in the record. She stated that several letters were written to the Registrar of the Court below between 2007 and 2011 demanding for additional record but same was not given to the appellant and no explanation was given either. She submitted that the appellant is entitled to the full consideration of his appeal on merit and that this cannot be possible except with a complete record. He cited the case of OLORUNYOLEMI v AKHAGBE (2010) 8 NWLR (pt.1195)48 SC. (quotation at page 5 of the appellant’s brief).

Learned counsel argued that an Appeal Court cannot base its decision on an incomplete record as the appellate Court does not speculate on what the record should contain. She also submitted that where a Court makes a pronouncement affecting the right of the parties without the vital documentary evidence, the decision would occasion a miscarriage of justice. She cited the case of NWANA v FCDA (2007)11 NWLR (pt.1044) 59.

She urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the appellant and set aside the judgment of the Court below.

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Issue NO.2

lssue No.2 deals with whether the failure of the Court below to hear and determine the motion on notice of the appellant dated and filed on December 3, 2012 for leave to file additional brief of argument amounts to denial of fair hearing.

The learned counsel to the appellant submitted that in so far as the appellant filed the application before the judgment was delivered, the Court below ought to have heard and disposed of it before proceeding with the judgment. She referred to the case of AFRO CONTINENTAL NIG LTD v COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION OF PROFS INC (2003)5 NWLR (pt.81-3) P.303. She then urged this Court to resolve this issue in favour of the appellant.

ISSUE NO.3

lssue No.3 deals with whether the appellant was denied fair hearing as he was not represented by a counsel of his choice and was also not properly arraigned.

The learned counsel to the appellant argued that the counsel that defended the appellant was imposed on him contrary to the provision of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which requires that an accused person must be represented by legal practitioner of his own choice.

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She referred to the proceeding of 2nd of March, 2005 at page 6 and 7 of the record and submitted that the accused’s mother or his family cannot impose a legal practitioner on the accused as he was not the counsel of his choice in this case. He submitted that in so far as the written request of the appellant withdrawing the instruction of Mr. Adeniyi as the counsel was not restricted, Mr. Adeniyi was wrongly imposed on the accused by his mother and the trial Court. He argued further that the arraignment of the appellant was not in compliance with the law as the charge was not explained to him as required by law.

See also  National Investment & Properties Co. Ltd Vs The Thompson Organisation Ltd & 2 Ors (1969) LLJR-SC

He therefore submitted that once an arraignment is faulty, the entire proceedings must be declared a nullity. He referred to the proceeding of 12th of July, 2004 at page 19 lines 5-12 of the record and submitted that the above proceeding was not a proper arraignment of the appellant in accordance with Section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Law and Section 36(1)and (2) of the 1999 Constitution. He submitted that the explanation is not dependent on whether or not the appellant understood the charge, but must be done before the appellant is asked if he

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understood the charge as explained to him.

He submitted further that the requirement of valid arraignment cannot be waived by the appellant or his counsel as it is a constitutional requirement. He argued that the Court has to be satisfied that the charged was read out and clearly explained to the accused so that any reasonable person standing trial would understand it. He urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the appellant.

ISSUE NO.4

lssue No.4 deals with whether the reliance on the evidence of PW1 and Exhibit A to convict the appellant was justifiable. She argued that the alleged confessional statement of the appellant was not in the record and that the Court can only rely on evidence on record.

In the alternative, he argued that the trial Court did not make any finding as to whether he made it or not the appellant having denied making Exhibit “A”. She submitted that once an accused person raises a defence of non est factum, a finding, one way or the other, should be made by the trial Court before relying on such statement. On the evidence of PW1, She argued that there are a lot of gaps in the evidence of PW1 as she has failed to mention the

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appellant’s name when people came to rescue her or on the way to the police station having claimed to have known the appellant before the date of the alleged incident. He submitted that there is no evidence on record to support the claim of PW1 and that it will be unsafe to rely on her evidence alone to sustain the conviction and sentence of death passed on the appellant. He then urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the appellant, set aside the judgment of the Court below affirming his conviction and to allow the appeal.

In response to the argument of the learned counsel to the appellant, the learned counsel to the respondent distilled two issues for determination.

ISSUE A

Issue A deals with whether the entire trial was a nullity

On the complaint of being denied fair hearing on the allegation that he was not represented by a counsel of his choice or that he was not properly arraigned, the learned counsel for the respondent submitted that at no time during the trial, did the appellant withdraw the counsel’s representation. He stated that all that was said was that it was his brother who said he will get another lawyer. He

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submitted that the contention of the respondent’s counsel that the appellant had disengaged his counsel (Mr. Adeniyi) is not supported by any evidence as there was no letter of disengagement tendered before the trial Court.

He submitted that it is not the duty of the Court to speculate on evidence not before it. He argued that there is no evidence before the trial Court that the appellant protested on its own and that he participated in the proceeding thereafter without objecting to the appearance of Mr. Adeniyi in the proceedings. He urged the Court to discountenance the submission of the appellant’s counsel on this issue.

On the issue of arraignment, he submitted that the appellant totally misconceived the position of law as it relates to the arraignment of an accused person. He listed the requirements at page 7 of the respondent’s amended brief and referred to the case of DIBIE v STATE (2008)3 WRN 1at 18 lines 15-40. He argued that the charge in the instant case was read to the appellant and explained to him in the language he understood which is Yoruba language and that he did not complain about the witnesses who testified in English which suggests that he also understands English language.

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He argued further, that neither the appellant nor his counsel complained at the trial Court of any difficulty in understanding the language at the trial Court. He submitted further, that since the appellant or his counsel did not complain or raise any objection as regards this, the right is lost and cannot be invoked on appeal. He cited the case of ONYIA v THE STATE (2009)3 WRN 1.

He argued that even if he did not state that the charge was read and explained to the accused person, that would not render the trial a nullity. He referred to the case of AKPAN & 3 ORS v THE STATE (2002)5 SCNJ 301 at 310-331. He submitted that the position of law is that an appellant must prove a failure or miscarriage of justice regarding failure to comply with the requirement of the provision of interpreter before a conviction can be vitiated. He cited the case of AJAYI v ZARIA N.A (1963) 1 ALL NLR 169.

ISSUE B

This deals with whether the identity of the appellant as a robber, was established by the prosecution.

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The learned counsel to the respondent stated that the PW1 was able to recognise her attacker on the day in question as the person whom she knew very well as a member of her church and that his name was immediately mentioned when she lodged complaint to the police. He therefore submitted that the issue of identification parade became unnecessary since the identity of the accused was not in doubt. He submitted further, that it is not in all criminal cases that identification parade is necessary and that where there is cogent evidence linking the accused person to the crime on the day of the incident, a formal identification parade is unnecessary. He cited the case of OKEKE V THE STATE (1995)ALL NWLR (pt.392)676 at 708 parag D-F.

He submitted that where there is no dispute about the identity and identification of an accused person by a witness, there is no reason why his evidence alone, if believed, cannot ground a conviction or sustain a conviction even on a charge of murder. He cited the case of EYISI V THE STATE (2000)15 NWLR (pt.69 1.)555.

He also referred to the contention of the appellant that once a plea of non est factum is made, the

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Court must make a finding and since the Court did not do so, the evaluation of evidence is wrong. He referred to the judgment of the trial Court at page 42 of the record and quoted at page 14-15 of the respondent’s brief and submitted that the trial Court made a finding of facts on this case and came to conclusion that despite a plea of non est factum, the evidence of PW1 corroborated Exhibit A1 and was therefore probable. He submitted that a retraction of a statement by an accused person does not ipso facto render it inadmissible. He then urged the Court to resolve this issue in favour of the appellant and dismiss the appeal.

PRELIMINARY OBJECTION

The learned counsel to the respondent contended that issue no.1 and 2 formulated from grounds one, two, three and seven of the notice of appeal are incompetent having been raised for the first time in the Supreme Court without leave. He then urged the Court to strike out grounds one, two, three and seven and issue no.1 & 2 formulated there from.

REPLY TO THE PRELIMINARY OBJECTION

The learned counsel to the appellant submitted that the object was misconceived as the issue complained of

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arose from the proceeding’s of the Court below which require no leave. She urged the Court to discountenance the said preliminary objection.

REPLY TO THE RESPONDENT’S BRIEF

The learned counsel to the appellant submitted that the respondent’s counsel having not responded to the submission on issue no.1 & 2 of the appellant’s brief distilled from ground one, two, three and seven is deemed to have accepted those submission. He urged the Court to resolve issue no.1 & 2 in favour of the appellant.

On the issue of lacking of evidence to substantiate that the appellant withdrew his instruction to be represented by Mr. Adeniyi, she referred to pages 9-10 of the appellant’s amended brief of argument where she stated that Mr. Adeniyi categorically informed the Court from the bar that the accused person wrote to him that he then submitted that there is no other evidence required by the trial Court to excuse Mr. Adeniyi from the case.

See also  Alewo Abogede Vs The State (1996) LLJR-SC

She submitted finally, that Exhibit “A” is not on the record of appeal and the Court cannot consider the alleged evidence that is not on record. He submitted that keeping a record of proceedings in a criminal trial is a

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constitutional requirement that cannot be waived. See Section 36(7) of the 1999 Constitution. She urged the Court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the two lower Courts.

As can be seen from the above reproduced issues for determination the appellant’s learned counsel in her Amended Appellant’s brief of argument raised four issue for determination. Looking at the first two issues i.e Issues Nos 1 and 2, I am unable to see the competence of those two issues simply because they did not emanate from the judgment of the Lower Court. There was nowhere in the proceedings of the Court below where the issue of incomplete record of appeal was raised before the lower Court. I have also not seen any motion where the appellant sought and obtained leave to raise that issue at the Court below.

Similarly, as regards the second issue for determination proposed by the appellant, I failed to see anywhere in the judgment of Court of Appeal now appealed against, where the issue of motion on notice filed on 3rd December, 2012 for leave was canvassed by counsel or addressed by the lower Court. Also the issue of filing of additional brief of

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argument was not raised or leave was sought and obtained. None of these issues was ever raised by the appellant at the lower Court at all neither was any leave ever sought and obtained.

In view of all that I posited above, I adjudge issues No.2, 1 and 2 in the appellant’s amended brief as incompetent. They are accordingly struck out.

Before I consider and resolve the issues for determination raised by parties, it is important to note that the learned counsel for the respondent had in his amended respondent’s brief filed on 6th March, 2018 argued Preliminary Objection after he had earlier on filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection. At the hearing of this appeal he however chose to withdraw his preliminary objections and this Court struck out preliminary objection without any opposition from the appellant’s learned counsel. The Court thereafter took argument on the appeal.

It appears to me that the first and second issues for determination raised by the appellant in her amended appellant’s brief as reproduced above are no longer live issues more especially since I have struck them out supra. I shall proceed to resolve the remaining issues raised

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namely Issues 3 and 4 in the appellant’s amend brief of argument.

RESOLUTION OF ISSUES

Issue No. 1

This issue queries whether the appellant was denied fair hearing because he was allegedly not represented by counsel of its choice and was also not properly arraigned before the trial Court.

Firstly on the issue of representation of the appellant by a counsel at the trial Court, it is noted by me that from page 25 of the record on the proceedings held on 2/3/2005 the case was for defence and the accused now appellant was represented by one A. Adeniyi, Esq. who announced that the address by the defence was not ready as the accused stated he did not want representation by Adeniyi but he said his mother later went to him and pleaded that he should continue representing the accused.

When the Court sought for the accused’s response, the accused/appellant said it was his brother who said he was going to get another lawyer for him. The mother thereupon, told the Court that she wanted A. Adeniyi to continue to defend her son, hence the trial Court acceded to her request and asked A. Adeniyi, Esq. to proceed with their defence. In my view, there was no imposition of

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Barr. A. Adeniyi on the accused/appellant because even though it was his mother who had insisted that that counsel should continue with his defence, he was then at liberty to reject him especially if he had another counsel in mind to defend him or if he had any reservation on the continued defending of his case by the said counsel. The alleged brother who he said had arranged another lawyer to defend him was not forthcoming and no such lawyer’s name was mentioned and the accused or his mother did not apply for adjournment to enable any other lawyer to come and take over the appellant’s defence.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended had made adequate provisions under its Section 36 on the Right of Fair hearing in determining the rights and obligation of accused person facing criminal trial. Surely in that regard, the right to counsel is at the root of fair hearing and its necessary foundation. See Unongo v Aliu (1982) 2 SCNLR 332 at 363; Mohammed vs Kano NA(1968)1 ALL NLR 42; Ogbon vs FRN (2002)4 SCNJ 1.

I have stated above, all that ensued on the issue of representation for the defence of the appellant at

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the trial Court considering the entire scenario that has informed the appellant’s grouse on the issue of alleged imposition of counsel submitted by the learned counsel for the appellant herein, I am unable to fathom that there had been any breach of fair hearing in the episode that led to the continued defence of the appellant at the trial Court by A. Adeniyi. In any case, it is my view that the question of fairness of a proceeding is separate from the question of the merit of the trial Court’s decision.

To my mind, where a question of fairness of hearing arises the appellate Court is always preoccupied in considering the merit of the case and to see whether the result of the case would have been different or the same even if the breach of the principle of fair hearing had not occurred. In any event, it is my view that even with what had happened in the case which the appellant seemed to have regarded as a breach of appellant’s right to fair hearing, the conclusion of the case would not differ from the conclusion the trial Court could have arrived at, especially in view of the reliable evidence that was adduced which the Court relied on and acted on in convicting the accused/appellant herein.

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This brings me to the question of arraignment which the appellant’s learned counsel said was improperly done at the trial Court. The grudge of the learned appellants counsel was that although the charge was read to the accused/appellant at the trial Court, it was not however explained to him as required by law.

Now let us refer to the record of appeal and see what ensued on page 19 of the record.

After the announcement of counsel to the parties, the record of 12/7/2004 reads thus:-

Court- Accused person is in Court, R.K. Olanipekun SLO for State, Dele Omotosho with him, K. Oparakin for the accused person.

R.K.Olanipekun – we humble apply for the charge to be read to the accused person so that his plea can be taken – you understand and speaks for accused person..Yoruba language.

Court – Court clerk will you please read the charge to the accused person as his pleas is also taken

Court – Clerk reads the charge in Yoruba language

Court – Accused person do you understand the charge as read out to you

Accused person- Yes I understand.

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Court – Are you guilty or not guilty to the charge against you

Court – Accused pleaded “NOT GUILTY” to the charge of the offence against him.

Thus, from the foregoing proceedings, the charge was read to the accused person in Yoruba language and he stated that he understood it. What was only missing in the record of appeal was “whether it was “explained” to the accused person which was the bone of contention of the appellant’s learned counsel on this issue.

To my mind, the most essential aspect of arraignment is the provision of Section 36 of the Constitution which requires, inter alia, that every person charged with criminal offence is entitled to be informed promptly in the language he understands the details of the nature of the offence. See Section 36(6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. After the charge is read and explained to the accused he will be asked to plead.

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The law does not however insist that it must be read and explained to him in the language he understands in a situation where the accused understands English language as in this instant case where the appellant is a student of a polytechnic.

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A strict observance of the provisions of Section 36(6) (a) the Constitution and Section 215 of Criminal Procedure Law, is in my view more applicable in a situation where the appellant is not literate in English language. It is even less applicable in a situation where the accused only faces one count charge, as in this instant case, where the accused/appellant had even made statement to the police earlier on the one count charge against him. Therefore, it is my view that failure by the trial judge to state that the sole charge was “explained” to him in the record is of no moment and does not amount to miscarriage of justice since it appears the trial judge was satisfied that the charge framed against him and the trial he was going to face. See Durwode v The State (2000) 12 SCNJ 9-10 P.9.

For the reasons stated above, I hold that no miscarriage of justice was occasioned as would vitiate the trial of the appellant at the trial Court. It is also pertinent to state that Appellant was represented by a counsel throughout. This issue is therefore resolved against the appellant.

ISSUE No.4

On this issue, the appellant queries whether the lower

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Court was justified in relying on the evidence of PW1 and Exhibit A the appellant’s confessional statement in convicting the appellant. To begin with, it would be pertinent to consider the evidence of PW1 as could be gleaned from the record of appeal which is the first leg of the appellant’s complaint on this issue.

It is well settled law, that in order to prove the offence of robbery, contrary to Section 1(2) (b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 (as amended) the prosecution is duty bound to prove the following ingredients of the offence namely:-

(a) That there was a robbery or series of robberies.

(b) That the robber or any of the robbers was armed with offensive weapon.

(c) That the accused person or persons was/were the ones responsible of committing the offence.

See State v Adedamola Bello & Ors (1989)1 CLRN 370; Bozin vs The State (1986)7 SC (Reprint); Balogun vs AG of Ogun State (2001) FWLR (pt.780)1144.

It is also the constitutional requirement that it is the prosecution that must prove the guilt of the accused person beyond reasonable doubt. See Section 135 of Evidence Act 2011 as amended

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See also the case of Woolmington vs PPP (1935)AC 462; Uche v State (2015)4-5 SC (pt.ll)140; Sani v The State (2015)6/7 SC(pt.II )1 at 17.

It must be emphasized here, that where slightest doubt exists as to the guilt of the accused, the Court must give the accused the benefit of doubt. It is well settled principle of law also, that an accused arraigned in Court is presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty by his accuser (prosecution) beyond reasonable doubt through credible evidence. See Section 138 of Evidence Act and the case of Olayinka Afolabi vs the State (2010) 16 NWLR (pt.1210) 584; Okoro v State (1988) NWLR (pt.94) or (1988) 2 SC (pt.II) 88.

It must however be stated here that proof of guilt of an accused person by the prosecution must be done in any of the under listed methods or ways:

(i) Through a voluntary confessional statement of the accused person; and/or

(ii) Through direct credible and reliable eye- witness or victims of the offence account depending on the circumstance of the offence or offences; and/or

(iii) Through circumstantial evidence pointing or focusing on the guilt of the accused person that he was the

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one or one of the persons who committed the offence or offences charged and by no other person(s) but him.

See Adio v The State (1986)2 NWLR (pt.24); Emeka vs The State (2001)6 SC 227; Egboghonome v The State (1993)7 NWLR (pt.306)383. In the instant case, PW1 was the only eye witness and she happened to be the victim of the offence she gave eye witness account of all that had ensued, in her testimony.

Without mincing any words, she testified as to the identity of the appellant who attacked her while wearing mask and when he tried to cut her hand with a cutlass or matchet and inflicted injury on her with matchet blow the mask which he was wearing fell off hence she was able to see and identify him very well because there was bright moonshine and she also had a torch light with her. The accused/appellant ran away with her bag containing some money, clothes and jewelleries. She thereupon shouted for help and was later taken to hospital for treatment. She also testified that she knew the appellant very well and he even confessed his guilt.

Under cross examination she stated that the appellant used to attend same church with her. From her

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testimony, it can be stated that what she emphatically stated had established that there was a robbery committed on her and the appellant was responsible of the robbery attack on her. There is also no doubt as to the identity of the appellant because his victim PW1, saw him after his mask fell off and she vividly saw and identify him and had recognised him as member of the church she used to attend. Her testimony was never controverted or contradicted by the defence.

Also from the testimony of PW1, it can be said that the first and third ingredients of the offence of robbery were established since the appellant ran away with her bag and the items she mentioned.

With regard to the third ingredient of the offence, that is to say whether the appellant was armed with offensive weapon at the time of commission of the offence, it is clear from her evidence that the appellant was armed with matchet which he used in striking on her hand leading to infliction of injuries on her as a result of which she was rushed to the hospital. By the provisions of Section 15(1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act, a

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matchet is included in the definition of offensive weapon. This also goes to show that the third ingredient of the offence, that the appellant must be armed with offensive weapon, has been established from the testimony of PW1, the only victims of the offence the appellant was charged with.

Next is Exhibit A, the confessional statement of the appellant which was voluntarily made by the appellant. It is trite law that confession of the accused alone can ground a conviction. The confessional statement of the accused is duly corroborated by the testimony of the victim PW1 who had given unequivocal and credible testimony on the guilt of the accused person now appellant. To my mind, it was rightly admitted in evidence by the trial Court.

It must be pointed out that an offence even of capital nature, like the present case can be established through the testimony of only one witness, provided the testimony of that sole witness is credible and the trial Court has believed it. In this instant case, even if there is no confessional statement of the accused/appellant i.e Exhibit A, the prosecution had led a credible and reliable

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evidence through PW1, the victim, which had fully and unequivocally proved the involvement of the appellant in the commission of the offence charged. Her evidence has in no way been contradicted, challenged or controverted. The trial Court had rightly relied on it to convict the appellant and indeed the Court below was justified in affirming the conviction and sentence.

The fourth issue is therefore also resolved against the appellant.

In the result, having resolved the two issues against the appellant herein, I hereby adjudge this appeal to be devoid of any merit. It fails and is accordingly dismissed. The judgment of the Court below which had earlier on affirmed the decision of the trial Court, is hereby affirmed.

The conviction and sentence of the accused/appellant are further affirmed.

Appeal dismissed.


SC.89/2013

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