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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Chief Saiperemor Preye Amaremor Vs. The State (2014) LLJR-SC

Chief Saiperemor Preye Amaremor Vs. The State (2014) LLJR-SC

Chief Saiperemor Preye Amaremor Vs. The State (2014)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

MAHMUD MOHAMMED, J.S.C.

On 24th November, 2001, the Appellant was in his home town Buluo-Orua Town in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State for his late Aunt’s funeral. The appellant who was an armourer with the National Intelligence Agency of the rank equivalent of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, came home with his service pistol, a Baretta which the regulations of his Agency forbade him to carry on such private journeys as attending funeral. That morning, a group of people had gathered to embark on a journey to a neighbouring Community with Appellant who joined to a waiting group armed with his pistol. On getting to the compound the Appellant brought out his pistol and shot twice towards the river and turned to the deceased and shot him in the chest. The deceased was heard to have shouted – “Ye etein neyol saniperemor etein neyo!,” meaning in English Language – you have shot me o! Saiperemor has shot me!’ Thereafter, the deceased was rushed to the Ufor hospital, Ugheli where he was confirmed dead by a Doctor.

At the trial Court, the Appellant was charged for the murder of the deceased Chief Tuomor Obiri under Section 319 of the Criminal Code Law of Eastern Nigeria, 1963 applicable in Bayelsa State. In the course of the trial, 3 eye witnesses gave evidence for the prosecution. A medical Doctor, PW5 also gave evidence as to the cause of death of the deceased while the investigating Police Officer PW6 in his evidence tendered the Appellant’s pistol used in the shooting incident and some caution statements of the Appellant. A prosecution witness who was billed to give evidence as PW4, was withdrawn by the prosecution. The Appellant on his part gave evidence in his own defence and also called one witness who gave evidence in support of the defence of the Appellant.

The case of the prosecution was that as the people who gathered for the journey to a neighboring Community were waiting to set out, the Appellant on coming shot twice towards the direction of the river with his pistol before turning towards the deceased and fired the 3rd shot into the chest of the deceased who slumped down and later died in the hospital.

The Appellant’s case was that as he was walking towards the entrance of the compound where people were waiting, he stumbled on a stone and his service pistol fell off his waist. He bent down to pick up the pistol and as he did so his finger touched the trigger and it exploded in quick succession twice. The Appellant then said he muzzled up the pistol and removed the magazine. That it was at that point that he heard the deceased shouting before he fell down and later died at the hospital. The Appellant later reported himself to the Police Station where he also surrendered, his Baretta pistol with nine remaining rounds of ammunition before he was detained.

After hearing the evidence placed before the trial Court by the prosecution and the evidence of the Appellant and his lone witness in support of the Appellant’s defence, the learned trial Judge made the following findings at pages 233 -234 of the record thus –

“From the facts of this case and issues canvassed respectively by the learned Counsel for the deceased and the learned Counsel for the prosecution, in their addresses, I am of the humble opinion that the live issue which calls for determination is:

Whether or not the accused Chief Saiperemoh Priye Amaremo – is guilty of the murder of late Chief Toumor Obiri by intentionally shooting the deceased with his service pistol at Bulou-Orua Town on the 24th day of November, 2001.”

In the determination of the above issue, the learned Judge found it necessary to also determine some ancillary or incidental questions which questions include the following, namely:

  1. Whether or not the service pistol of the accused fell after he stumble on a stone at the entrance to the venue of the wake keep ceremonies.
  2. Whether the accused fired three shots or only two shots on that day.
  3. Whether there was deliberate or intentional shooting of the deceased by the accused.
  4. Whether the shooting incident of 24th November, 2001 at Bulou-Orua was an accidental discharge.
  5. Whether the accused was negligent in the handling of his service pistol on the date of the incident.
  6. Whether the accused could be convicted of the lesser offence of manslaughter if the shooting incident was accidental and not intentional.
  7. Whether having regard to the facts of this case, it was necessary for the prosecution to establish motive on the part of the accused.
  8. Whether the prosecution case is infested with material contradictions as alleged by the defence or at all.
  9. What are vital ingredients or necessary elements to be established in a case of murder.”

The learned trial Judge after carefully resolving the ancillary and incidental questions, proceeded to resolve the main issue as follows –

“On the substantive issue of whether or not the accused Chief Saipremoh Priye Amaremor – is guilty of murder of late Chief Tuomor Obiri, I wish to say that, in view of all that I have said in this judgment, the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Chief Saipremor Priye Amaremo intentionally killed Chief Tuomor Obiri (the deceased) at Bulou-Orua village, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on 24th day of November, 2001.”

The learned trial Judge after very carefully considering and ultimately rejecting the defence of accident under Section 24 of the Criminal Code put up by the Appellant and after having been satisfied that the Appellant had not even attempted to put up a defence of insanity, proceeded and convicted the Appellant of the offence of murder and sentenced him to death in accordance with the law on 22nd December, 2005.

In exercise of his constitutional right of appeal against his conviction of murder and the sentence of death passed upon him by the trial High Court of Bayelsa State, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal Port-Harcourt Division by a Notice and Grounds of Appeal dated 31st January, 2006. After giving the Appellant a hearing in his appeal, the Court of Appeal in its judgment delivered on 15th March, 2010, dismissed the Appellant’s appeal and affirmed his conviction for murder and the sentence of death. The Appellant is now on a further appeal against his conviction and sentence by a Notice and Grounds of Appeal dated 28th May, 2010 and filed on 1st June, 2010, containing 5 distinct grounds of appeal from which the following two issues for the determination of the appeal were distilled in the Appellants brief of argument.

“1. Whether the defence of accident availed the Appellant by virtue of the provisions of S.24 of the Criminal Code (Grounds 1, 2, and 3).

  1. Whether the essential elements of murder and the guilt of the Appellant were established beyond reasonable doubt as laid down by S.138(1) of the Evidence Act (Grounds 4 and 5).”

The learned Appellant’s Counsel after quoting the provisions of Section 24 of the Criminal Code referred to the case of Nnamah v. The State (2005) 9 NWLR (Pt. 929) 147, where this Court defined accidental event as one that is not intended by the actor. It is not foreseen by him and is not reasonably foreseeable. The Appellant, according to Counsel, is raising his defence on the last leg of Section 24 of Criminal Code for ‘an event which occurs by accident’, which supports the evidence in chief of the Appellant at the trial Court where he testified on the event by saying at page 100 of the record –

“Just at entrance of the family compound, as I was walking briskly, I stumbled on a stone and my service pistol fell off from my waist because it was not in the holster, I immediately bent down to pick it up. As I was picking up my fingers touched the trigger and it exploded in quick succession twice, I muzzled up, that is faced the gun up, and removed the magazine and tucked it into my breast pocket and returned the pistol to my waist.”

See also  Alhaji Shaibu Abdulkareem V. Incar Nigeria Limited (1984) LLJR-SC

This evidence which Counsel said was not challenged under cross-examination, the implication was that the prosecution had accepted the truth of the contents of the Appellant’s evidence, if the case of Oforlete v. State (2000) 12 NWLR (Pt. 681) 415 at 436, were taken into consideration. Learned Counsel submitted that the evidence of the Appellant under cross-examination by the prosecution at pages 130 – 131 of the record were only aimed at establishing that the Appellant was negligent or reckless the manner in which he had handled the said pistol. This evidence, argued the learned Counsel, is supported by the evidence of DW2, the defence witness called by the Appellant and that as such the Court below suffered a misdirection when it said that the evidence of the DW2 supported the case of the prosecution. Learned Counsel further argued that as the witness PW6 did not find out or know how many rounds of ammunition were fired but only tendered 9 live rounds and 2 spent shells, those exhibits supported the evidence of the Appellant and his witness DW2 of the version of what transpired to warrant raising doubt in the case of the prosecution to justify the doubt being resolved in favour of the Appellant as the case of Ibeh v. State (1997) 1 NWLR (Pt. 484) 660. Learned Counsel observed that as even the prosecution eye witnesses agreed that the event was a surprise to all and sundry, on the authority of the case of Ibikunle v. State (2005) 1 NWLR (Pt. 907) 387 at 409 – 410, the Appellant’s defence of accident had been established particularly with the case of Babuga v. State (1995) 5 NWLR (Pt. 395) 350 – 351; that on the evidence of the Appellant and his witness, his defence under Section 24 of the Criminal Code had been established having regard to the case of Iromantu v. State (1964) All NLR 311, since the prosecution had failed to dislodge that defence.

However, on this first issue of whether or not the defence of accident was available to the Appellant, the learned Attorney General of Bayelsa State for the Respondent, promptly submitted and answered the question in the negative having regard to the evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3 who were eye witnesses to the event of the shooting that resulted in the death of the deceased; that even the evidence of the Appellant himself and his only one witness DW1, also confirmed the shooting event which led to the death of the deceased as confirmed by the evidence of the Doctor, PW5 who examined the corpse of the deceased and found that the deceased died of a single penetrating wound between the ribs. In other words, according to the learned Attorney General, the deceased died from a through to through gun shot wound released from the service pistol of the Appellant; that in the extra judicial statements of the Appellant Exhibits ‘A,’ ‘C’ and ‘J,’ the Appellant admitted shooting the deceased to death but pleaded accidental discharge which he gave in different versions particularly in the evidence of the Appellant in Court where he denied using a Baretta pistol which he personally handed over to the Police upon shooting the deceased and for the first time he claimed that his gun went off twice in quick succession; that having regard to the evidence of the prosecution, the defence of accidental discharge claimed by the Appellant, can hardly find a place this case. Learned Counsel to the Respondent relying on the case of Adekunle v. The State (2006) All FWLR (Pt. 332) 1452 at 1472 also reported in (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1000) 717, argued that having regard to the clear evidence of how the Appellant fired his pistol at the deceased on the day of the event, the defence of the Appellant that the pistol got fired while he was muzzling or picking it up, was rightly rejected by the Court below because his story is hardly believable.

With regard to the time of raising the defence of accident by the Appellant, learned Respondent’s Counsel pointed out that it was not timeously raised and that his evidence in chief was not reliable it being inconsistent with his various statements to the police; that relying on Maiyaki v. The State (2008) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1109) 173 at 197, the Appellant’s defence of accident cannot succeed in this appeal. With regard to the identity of the pistol used by the Appellant on the day of the incident, the claim of the Appellant that it was a Browning pistol that was used and not Baretta pistol, had been put to rest by the evidence of PW6 and Exhibit ‘H’ brought by the Appellants employers that it was a Baretta pistol No. E00080 that was officially issued to the Appellant which also was in evidence as Exhibit ‘D’; that the Appellant not having raised objection to the admission of Exhibit ‘D’ at the trial, it is too late to attempt to raise it in this Court, taking into consideration of the case of Agbo v. The State (2006) 6 NWLR (Pt. 997) 545. Learned Attorney General therefore urged this Court to apply its decision in Maiyaki v. The State (2008) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1109) 173 at 200A and resolve this issue on the defence of accident in the negative.

What I have to determine in this issue is whether having regard to the circumstances in which the deceased Chief Tuomor Obiri met his death in a penetrating through and through bullet wound on 24th November, 2001, the defence of accident was available to the Appellant. Section 24 of the Criminal Code in contention reads –

“24. Subject to the express provision of this code relating to negligent acts and omissions, a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission which occurs independently of the exercise of his will, or for any event which occurs by accident.”

The defence being raised under this Section as clearly stated by the learned Counsel to the Appellant in the Appellant’s brief of argument was limited or confined only to the second leg of the Section which deals with the question of whether the Appellant could be convicted for causing the death of the deceased which was an event which occurred by accident. Section 24 of the Criminal Code in relation to the part being relied upon by the Appellant, does not deal with an ‘act’ but with an ‘event.’ The event within the meaning of the Section is what follows from an act. See Audu Umaru v. The State (1990) 3 NWLR (Pt. 138) 363 at 370 and Chukwu v. The State (1992) 1 NWLR (Pt.217) 255 at 269. Thus, for an event to qualify as accidental under the Section relied upon by the Appellant in this case, it must be a surprise to ordinary man of prudence. That is to say, a surprise to all sober and reasonable people. In other words the test is always objective. See Adelumola v. The State (1988) 1 NWLR (Pt. 73) 683 at 692 – 693, Aliu Bello & 13 Ors. v. Attorney General of Oyo State (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt. 45) 828 and Iromantu v. The State (1964) 1 All N.L.R. 311, where this Court stated the law that where a person discharges a firearm unintentionally and without attendant criminal malice or negligence, he will be exempted from criminal responsibility both for the firing and for its consequences.

In the instant case the defence of accident put up by the Appellant is contained in his separate statements to the Police exhibit ‘J’ made on 24th November, 2001, the very day the event occurred; Exhibit ‘A’ made on 27th November, 2001 and Exhibit ‘B’ made on 29th November, 2001 and his evidence in chief where he testified before the trial Court as DW1. In the first statement in Exhibit ‘J’ the Appellant said –

“I Chief S. P. Amaremo, during weapon check had an accidental discharge that resulted to the shooting of one Chief Tuomor Obiri of Tomobiri Quarters, Bulou-Orua village, a cousin which later resulted to his death as pronounced by a Medical Doctor at Ugheli.”

See also  Madam Rose Fadiyo Vs Sunday Idemudia Ebamawo (1973) LLJR-SC

However in Exhibit ‘A’, the Appellant said –

“At the entrance of the family compound, I stumbled on a stone and the pistol fell off from my waist, I immediately bent down to pick it up and as I was picking it up my finger unknowingly touched the trigger and it exploded and hit one High Chief Tuomor OBIRI (m) a cousin of mine on the chest and saw slumbing and vomiting blood profusely.”

While explaining his statements made earlier, the Appellant said in Exhibit ‘C’ as follows –

“I agree that the statement at Sagbama Police Station and that of the C.I.D Yenagoa is contradictory in the sense that I did not clearly state the stage the pistol exploded that as I picked it up to check when it fell down my finger touched the trigger and it exploded. While in Sagbama I simply said the pistol fired during weapon check because

I was in state of shock, confused and in a uncomposed state of mind.”

When the Appellant came to testify in in his defence at page 100 of the record he came with another version of the event as follows –

“Just at the entrance of the family compound, as I was walking briskly, I stumbled on a stone and my service pistol fell off from my waist because it was not in the holster. I immediately bent down to pick it up. As I was picking it up, my fingers touched the trigger and it exploded in quick succession twice. I muzzled up, that is faced the gun up, and removed the magazine and tucked it into my breast pocket and returned the pistol to my waist. Immediately, I heard Chief Tuomor Obiri shouting in Ijaw language; ‘ye-eteineye, saiperemoh ye-eteineye!”

A very careful examination of the line of defence of accident put up by the Appellant in his three separate statements and his evidence in chief quoted above in this judgment, has revealed inconsistencies which ruled out any event of accident in them. While in Exhibit ‘J’ the Appellant described the shooting event as an accidental discharge which resulted in shooting the deceased who later died in the hospital took place during a weapon check, in Exhibit ‘A’ the story was that the shooting event took place when he stumbled on a stone when his service pistol fall off from his waist and as he bent down to pick it up, unknowingly his finger touched the trigger and the pistol exploded hitting the deceased on the chest leading to the death of the deceased. The version of the shooting event on the other hand in the evidence of the Appellant before the Court that as he was picking the pistol from the ground, his fingers touched the trigger and the pistol exploded in quick succession twice before he heard the deceased shouting. All these claims of alleged accidental discharge from the Appellant’s service pistol cannot be true because even if it happened as the Appellant claimed the pistol exploding on the ground would not have resulted in striking the deceased in the chest who was standing. As the shots from the exploded pistol on the ground could only have gone horizontally along the ground to meet its possible target on the feet of those standing, the story of the Appellant on the event of shooting on 24th November, 2001 when the deceased was hit by a bullet through and through on his chest, is a mere cock and bull story not worth being considered as a defence under Section 24 of the Criminal Code. In any case, taking into consideration the clear evidence from the prosecution witnesses 1, 2 and 3 on the circumstances in which the shooting event took place on 24th November, 2001 resulting In the death of the deceased from a single bullet wound in his chest, the two Courts below were definitely correct in their decisions rejecting the rather frivolous defence of accident claimed by the Appellant.

The next issue placed by the Appellant in his brief of argument for the determination of this appeal is whether the essential elements of murder and the guilt of the Appellant were established beyond reasonable doubt laid down by Section 138(1) of the Evidence Act. Learned Appellant’s Counsel referred to the evidence of PW1 whom he described as the deceased’s brother, who said the Appellants fired two shots towards the river before turning round to fire the third shot at the deceased.

Prosecution witnesses 2 and 3 also gave the same evidence but that all the 3 witnesses agreed under cross-examination that what transpired that day was sudden and unexpected. Learned Counsel then regarded the failure of the prosecution to call the 4th eye witness, as an act warranting the drawing up of a presumption that the evidence of that witness would have been against the prosecution. Learned Counsel for the Appellant also tried to find a refuge for the Appellant in the Investigation Report of PW6 recommending that the Appellant be charged for manslaughter, as a factor to be taken into consideration in the defence of the Appellant.

After closely examining the evidence of the Appellant and that of his sole witness DW2, learned Counsel submitted that if prosecution evidence is placed side by side with that of the defence, reasonable doubt would have been raised in the evidence of the prosecution.

On the identity of the gun used by the Appellant on 24th November, 2001 which the Appellant claimed in his evidence that it was a ‘Browning pistol’ while the Appellant’s employer’s letter Exhibit ‘H’ stated that it was a ‘Baretta pistol’ that was allocated to the Appellant, learned Counsel argued that the two Courts below were wrong in relying on Exhibit ‘H’ rather than on the evidence of the Appellant which was not even challenged in cross-examination.

On the question of whether or not three or two shots were fired on 24th November, 2001, learned Appellants Counsel saw no reason why the version of the Appellant that only two shots were fired, was not accepted by the Courts below which caused miscarriage of justice to the Appellant because on the authority of Koneke v. The State (1995) 4 NWLR (Pt. 392) 767 at 712, where evidence is capable of two interpretations, that favourable to the Appellant must be adopted to raise doubt in the case of the prosecution.

On the burden of proof under Section 138 of the Evidence Act, learned Appellant’s Counsel contended that since the case of the prosecution was full of inconsistencies, both the guilt of the accused and his innocence must be resolved in favour of the Appellant having regard to the case of Alguoreghian v. The State (2004) 3 NWLR (Pt. 860) 367 at 429; that the number of bullets fired and the type of gun used was material to case of the prosecution and failure to resolve them means the prosecution did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt; that the evidence of the 3 eye witnesses ought to have been treated with caution requiring corroboration as in Opara v. The State (2006) 9 NWLR (Pt. 986) 508 at 527. Finally relying on Nwosu v. The State (1986) 4 NWLR (Pt. 35) 348 at 359 learned Counsel maintained that the prosecution having failed to prove its case against the Appellant, his appeal deserves to succeed for him to be acquitted and discharged.

For the Respondent, it was submitted on the second issue that the Court below was justified dismissing the Appellant’s appeal and in affirming the decision of the trial Court; that there was no doubt on the pistol Exhibit ‘D’ used in sending the deceased to his grave because Exhibit ‘E’ was admitted as a Baretta pistol holster. Failure to call ballistic expert by the prosecution was not fatal to its case as was stated in Iden v. The State (1994) 8 NWLR (Pt. 365) 719; that the issue of the type of pistol used in the commission of the offence and its materiality, were introduced into this case by the Appellant’s Counsel as there was no ‘Browning pistol’ tendered in evidence in this case and that all the alleged contradictions in the case of the prosecution, were merely the creation of the Appellant which were rightly rejected by the Courts below.

See also  Chief J.O. Iyase & Ors V. Ugiagbe Omoragbon (1976) LLJR-SC

On the requirement of the prosecution to prove its case of murder against the Appellant under Section 138 of the Evidence Act, learned Counsel to the Respondent reiterated that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses accepted by the trial Court and affirmed by the Court below as credible and overwhelming, had proved the case against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt and urged the Court not to disturb the decisions of the Courts below. The case of Igbo v. The State (2006) 6 NWLR (Pt. 977) 545 at 583 was cited in support of this argument in urging this Court to resolve this issue against the Appellant.

From a long line of the decisions of this Court, it is settled beyond controversy that to secure a conviction on a charge of murder under Section 319 of the Criminal Code, the prosecution must prove –

(i) that the deceased had died,

(ii) that the death of the deceased was caused by the accused, and

(iii) that act or omission of the accused which caused the death of the deceased was intentional with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequence.

See Ogba v. The State (1992) 2 NWLR (Pt. 222) 164; Monday v. Nweze v. The State (1996) 2 NWLR (Pt. 428) 1; Gira v. The State (1996) 4 NWLR (Pt. 448) 375 and Adekunle v. The state (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1000) 717 at 737. In other words, in a murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt not only that the act of the accused person could have caused the death of the deceased but that it actually did. If there is any possibility that the deceased died from other causes than the act of the accused, then the prosecution has failed to establish the case against the accused person. See Uguru v. The State (2002) 9 NWLR (Pt. 771) 90 and Oforlete Nere v. The State (2000) 12 NWLR (Pt. 681) 415.

In the present case the evidence of prosecution witnesses 1, 2 and 3 who were eye witnesses to act of the Appellant of shooting the deceased with a Baretta pistol in his chest, which act of shooting resulted in causing the death of the deceased almost instantly at an Ugheli Hospital, is not only direct and credible but was also accepted and relied upon by the trial Court and affirmed by the Court below. The evidence which is overwhelming, had clearly established that the Appellant caused the death of the deceased and that the deceased died as a result of the act of the Appellant to the exclusion of all other possibilities. The cause of death of the deceased was from the bullet fired deliberately by the Appellant from his service Baretta pistol resulting in taking the life of the deceased. See Nwosu v. The State (1998) 8 NWLR (Pt. 562) 433 at 444, Adekunle v. The State (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1000) 717; and Maiyaki v. The State (2008) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1109) 173 at 197.

It is also clear from the evidence put in place by the prosecution that the Appellant admitted shooting and killing the deceased with his Baretta pistol which he surrendered to the police before he was detained on 24th November, 2001. The same Baretta pistol was admitted in evidence as Exhibit ‘D’ at the trial Court in the presence of the Appellant and his Counsel without any objection. Not only that, the letter from the Appellant’s employer, the National Intelligence Agency Exhibit ‘H’ had unequivocally confirmed that it was a Baretta pistol No. E00080, that was supplied to the Appellant. Therefore the claim of the Appellant that it was a Browning pistol that he used on the day of the incident is mere after thought which does not offer him any defence to the offence of murder committed by him. See Agbo v. The State (2006) 6 NWLR (Pt. 997) 545.

On the Appellant’s complaint of the failure of the prosecution to call PW4, the law is trite that the prosecution has no duty to call and field all known material witnesses so long as it calls and fields all material witnesses that it may consider necessary for proof of its case beyond reasonable doubt. See Oduneye v. The State (2001) FWLR (Pt. 38) 1203 at 1218.

It was also further canvassed for the Appellant that the evidence of the three eye witnesses for the prosecution PW1, PW2 and PW3 who were described as brother, cousin and nephew of the deceased should be treated with caution being in the class of evidence of persons interested and which ought to require corroboration. This complaint has no basis law having regard to the case of Nkebisi & Anor. v. The State (2010) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1188) 472 at 485. It must be stressed that there is no law which precludes a blood relation of a deceased person from testifying for the prosecution. What a Court must consider as an abiding fact is the truthfulness of the witness touching on his integrity, veracity and knowledge on the matter. See Oguonzee v. The State (1998) 5 NWLR (Pt. 551) 521. In the present case, the evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3 as the eye witnesses to the shooting event that led to the death of the deceased was quite cogent and free from element of falsehood or bias and was therefore rightly accepted and relied upon by the trial Court and affirmed by the Court below.

Learned Counsel to the Appellant also strenuously submitted that the charge against the Appellant was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. It must be stressed that proof beyond reasonable doubt is not proof to the hilt as stated in Miller v. Minister of Pension (1947) 2 All E.R. 372. In any case in Princewill v. The State (1994) 6 NWLR (Pt. 353) 703 at 716 – 717 Iguh, JSC, stated the law on the point thus –

“To secure a conviction for murder, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the death of the deceased was caused directly or indirectly by the act of the accused. It is incumbent on the prosecution to establish not only that the act of the accused could have caused the death of the deceased but that in actual fact the deceased died as a result of the act of the accused to the exclusion of all other possibilities.”

See also R. v. Izobo Owe (1961) 1 All N.L.R. 680, R. v. Johnson Nwokocha (1949) 13 WACA 453 at 455 and Valentine Adie v. The State (1980) 1 – 2 S.C. 116 at 122 – 123. The trial Court having found that the charge against the Appellant had been proved beyond reasonable doubt and the Court below having affirmed that finding on appeal, I find no reason to disturb these findings.

On the final note, this appeal being one from concurrent findings of fact by the two Courts below supported by overwhelming credible evidence which is not perverse and not reached as a result of wrong approach to evidence or caused miscarriage of justice or violated some principles of substantive and procedural law, I find no reason whatsoever to disturb these concurrent findings. See Igwe v. The State (1982) 9 S.C 114 and Shorumo v. The State (2010) 12 S.C (Pt. 1) 73 at 102. The appeal is plainly lacking in merit and therefore ought to be dismissed. The appeal is dismissed. The judgment of the trial Court of 22nd December, 2005 finding the Appellant guilty of murder for which he was sentenced to death by hanging and which judgment was affirmed on appeal by the Court below, is hereby further affirmed.


SC.376/2010

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