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Aneji Irek V. The State (1976) LLJR-SC

Aneji Irek V. The State (1976)

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We now give our reasons for dismissing this appeal on the 1st of April, 1976.The appellant was charged in the High Court, Calabar, with murder contrary to Section 319 of the Criminal Code; and the particulars of offencewere that on the 19th of March, 1974 at Ofonekom, he murdered Nyama Agara.The incident took place at Ekpa, Ofonekom where the appellant and other farmers had yam barns.  

There were 35 yam barns in all; the 2nd yam barn belonged to the appellant whereas the 35th yam barn belonged to Osam Nyama (P.W.1) – the father of the deceased.The deceased had passed the 2nd yam barn and was on his way to the 35th yam barn at about 6.00 a.m. on the 19th of March, 1974 when he was shot dead by the appellant.  

Soon thereafter, the appellant told Richard Ofrenya (P.W2) that he had killed the deceased and took P.W.2 to the scene which was a few yards away from the appellant’s yam barn.There were gun shot wounds on the deceased; and the appellant was holding a gun (Exhibit 1) which he said he used in killing the deceased.

The incident was later reported to P.W.1 (the father of the deceased), and the police.  In due course, the corpse was carried to the village and eventually taken to the General Hospital, Obubra where a post-mortem examination was performed by Dr. Ashok Sharma whose medical report was admitted in evidence at the trial and marked as Exhibit 2.  The wounds found on the deceased were fully described in Exhibit 2; and the doctor expressed the opinion that death was caused by –

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“gun shot wounds, causing perforation of stomach and intestine, haemorrhage of intestine, shock”.

The appellant admitted killing the deceased.  His defence was that he was hunting in the bush at about 5.00 a.m. when he saw a man standing near his yam barn. He continued his evidence thus:

“I asked who he was. I heard no sound. The person made no reply. I asked twice. At the third time I fired.  I could not see him clearly. If I saw him clearly, I would not have fired. After the shot he cried saying: ‘I am Oyama Agara I am Oyama Agara. You have killed me’”.

Under cross-examination, he stated that he shot the deceased because he thought the deceased was a thief.
After a careful review of the evidence, the learned trial Judge made the following observations:-

“It is clear from this piece of evidence that the accused knew the object was a human being. He knew that the effect of the shot would be to main the victim and make it impossible for him to run away. There is no evidence that the deceased ever touched any yams”,

and concluded as follows:

“… it is my considered view that when the accused saw the deceased and fired at him he intended to inflict at least grievous harm on the deceased and as the deceased died as a result of such grievous harm, the accused must be deemed to have intended the consequences of his unlawful act. I therefore accept the case for the prosecution as proved beyond all reasonable doubts and accordingly I convict the accused of the capital offence of murder”.

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At the hearing of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant, Mr. Akinrele, rightly in our view, indicated to the court that there was nothing he could usefully urge on behalf of the appellant. We have considered the findings of the lower court and were convinced that the learned trial Judge was entitled to come to the conclusion that he did on the evidence before him. We therefore dismissed the appeal.

Other Citation: (1976) LCN/2349(SC)

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