Chukwu V. State (2021)
LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report
ABDU ABOKI, J.S.C.
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal Enugu Division (herein called the Court below) which judgment was delivered on the 29th day of June 2019.
The Appellant was tried before the High Court of Ebonyi State on a one count charge on the offence of murder contrary to Section 319 of the Criminal Code Law Cap 33 Vol 1 Laws of Ebonyi State. The one count charge is reproduced as follows:
Statement of offence
Murder contrary to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Law CAP 33 Vol 1 Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria 2009.
Particulars of offence
Amaoge Chukwu on the 31st day of August 2009, at Akaeze Ukwu Village Ndubia River in Ivo Judicial Division murdered Ajali Amah.
The facts leading to this appeal are, that prior to the 31st day of August 2009, the deceased and the Appellant had some sort of misunderstanding which resulted in the deceased always calling the Appellant derogatory names at every given opportunity. On a fateful day, the Appellant went into the bush to defecate wherein he was accosted by the deceased who again rained derogatory words on him.
The Appellant later saw her at the river bathing and he pushed her into the river where she was later found dead. It is on record that an angry mob attacked the Appellant but the situation was later brought under control. The matter was reported to the Nigerian Police force who arrested the Appellant and commenced investigation into the offence. Six witnesses were called upon by the IPO who volunteered to give in their statements before the Police. See pages 3 of the Record of Appeal. The Appellant also gave an extra judicial statement under words of caution. See page 21 of the Record.
At the close of investigation, the Appellant was charged before the High Court of Ebonyi State. The Appellant pleaded guilty to the charge but the learned trial Judge entered a plea of not guilty in favour of the Appellant, being that it was a capital offence and the matter proceeded to trial.
The Prosecution in proof of its case called in a sole witness who was the Investigating Police Officer and tendered ten (10) exhibits. The Appellant entered defense and testified in his defence. After the close of evidence, parties filed their respective final addresses and the
learned trial judge on the 30th day of June 2014 at pages 62-81 of the Record convicted the Appellant and sentenced him to death by hanging.
The learned trial Judge had this to say:
It is consequently the net finding of this Court that the prosecution proved the three ingredients of murder beyond reasonable doubt as required by law… consequent upon the credible and convincing evidence adduced by the prosecution against the accused person, I hold as follows, I find the accused person Amaoge Chukwu guilty of the murder of the accused person Ajali Ama accordingly the sentence of this Court upon you Amaoge Chukwu is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial High Court, the Appellant immediately appealed to the Court below via a three ground undated Notice of Appeal which is contained at pages 82-84 of the Record. Parties filed their respective briefs at the Court below and in its judgment, the Court below, after considering all the issues raised, unanimously dismissed the Appellant’s appeal.
At page 148 of the Record, the Court below held inter
“I find no merit in this appeal. The appeal is totally devoid of merit and it is hereby dismissed. The judgment of the High Court of Ebonyi State delivered in Charge No. HSK/5C/2013 on 30/6/2014 by Honourable Justice I.P. Chima, is hereby affirmed. The conviction and sentence passed on the Appellant is hereby affirmed.”
Still aggrieved, the Appellant appealed to this Court. The Notice of Appeal filed on the 20th of July 2018, contains three grounds.
In accordance with the practice and accepted procedure of this Court, both parties filed their respective briefs. The Appellant formulated two issues for determination which are:
- Whether at the time of the death of the deceased, the appellant was not suffering from a state of mind bothering on insanity.
- Whether the Court below was right when it affirmed the decision of the trial Court that the prosecution proved the evidence of murder beyond reasonable doubt against the appellant through cogent and credible evidence required by law.
The Respondent also distilled two issues for determination. They are:
- Whether the defence of insanity not raised or
established by the accused person during his trial can avail him?
- Whether the Prosecution successfully proved the offence of murder against the Appellant?
The issues formulated by Counsel on both sides, are the same in purport, though couched differently. I adopt the two issues canvassed by the Appellant as the issues to be determined in this appeal.
Whether at the time of the death of the deceased the appellant was not suffering from a state of mind bothering on insanity.
It is submitted for the Appellant that at the time of the alleged offence of murder, he was suffering from a state of mind bordering on insanity, He referred this Court to pages 52 lines 9-12 of the record that the Investigating Police Officer was timely informed about the fact that the Appellant was insane. He argued that the IPO waived it and conducted no investigation as to the genuineness of the defense raised. He further stated that the Appellant in his statement at page 21 was referring to an illusory person Ajali Chukwu not the deceased person. He referred this Court to the Appellant’s statement at pages 21 from lines 4 which states as follows:
I know Ajali Chukwu. She is from our village. I was bathing in the river with Ajali Chukwu on 31st August 2009 when I pushed her and the river carried her. I did not use any stick on Ajali Chukwu.
Expatiating on this issue of insanity, he said the Court below failed to take into consideration the inconsistent behavior and statement of the Appellant. That on two occasions before the trial Court as soon as the clerk reads out the information to the Appellant, he interrupts and shouts that he was guilty without knowing the consequences of death by hanging.
He said what played out in this case had the semblance of a partial insanity which made the Appellant lack understanding of what he was doing at the time of the commission of crime and trial. He referred us to this Court’s decision in:
MOHAMMED V THE STATE (1997) 9 NWLR (PT 520) 169;
LOKE V THE STATE (1985) 1 NWLR (PT 1).
Learned counsel for the Appellant submitted that the sole witness for the Prosecution knew that the Appellant had a mental condition and the revelation came from the father. He stated that he took the plea of saying ‘go forward and hang me’ when he was in a
lucid state, but when he regained consciousness, he denied committing the offence. He raised the issue of motive and in its absence; there can be no intention to commit an offence. He further stated that mere pushing someone into the river without motive cannot be held to constitute intent to commit murder.
Finally, he referred this Court to the cases of:
IDOHO V THE STATE (2010) 14 NWLR (PT 1214) 651;
ANI V THE STATE (2002) 10 NWLR (PT 776) 644.
He urged this Court to discharge and acquit on the grounds of insanity.
In response to the above, learned Counsel for the Respondent referred this Court to the provisions of Section 27 of the Criminal Code Law, CAP 33 Vol 1 Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria 2009, which it provides that:
“Every person is presumed to be of sound mind, and to have been of sound mind at any time which come in question, until the contrary is proved.”
He relied also on these cases:
ARISA v THE STATE (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt 83) 38,
ONYEKWE v THE STATE (1988) 1 NWLR (Pt 72) 565.
Expatiating on this issue, he submitted that the burden of proof of insanity does not rest on the Prosecution
and that the Prosecution has no legal duty or responsibility to prove an accused person is insane. He placed reliance on the case of ARISA v The STATE (supra) and as well as Section 28 of the Criminal Code (supra).
Learned counsel for the Respondent submitted that by the provisions of Section 139 of the Evidence Act, the burden of proving insanity lies on the person who alleges it. He stated that in order to successfully establish a defense of insanity, the Appellant must prove that he was suffering from mental disease or natural mental capacity at the material time the offence was committed, and this the Appellant failed to do.
He distinguished the case of LOKE v THE STATE (supra) as cited by the Appellant’s counsel from the instant appeal, and submitted that whereas in LOKE’s case, there were witnesses who testified that the accused person was not mentally balanced at the day and time that he killed the victim, in the instant appeal, there is no such evidence of mental incapacitation.
He finally urged this Court to discountenance the Appellant’s submission on insanity.
The law is settled that the burden of proof of insanity lies on
the accused person.
In NDU v THE STATE 1990 LPELR-1975 SC this Court held as follows:
The law is that the burden of proving insanity rests on the accused person. Of course the burden of proof which he has to discharge is a light one. It is a proof by a preponderance of evidence or on a balance of probability. The defense of insanity is a plea which must be positively put forward by way of defence and evidence should be adduced in support.
Also in ANI V THE STATE (2002) 10 NWLR PT 776 644, this Court had this to say;
The burden on the accused to prove his insanity, however is merely as in civil cases that is to say on the balance of probability or the preponderance of evidence.
In the more recent case of NWODE v THE STATE (2019) LPELR-49372 SC, this Court had a reason to interpret Section 28 of the Criminal Code Law supra, and held as follows:
Section 28 of the Criminal Code Law supra provides as follows; a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission if at the time of doing the act or making the omission he is in such a state of mental disease or natural mental infirmity as to deprive him capacity to
understand what he is doing or of capacity to control his actions… however by Section 27 of the same act, the onus of proving insanity is on the accused who is required to make available evidence to satisfy the Courts that he was insane at the time he committed the offence.
In order to succeed in a plea of insanity, the Appellant must before the trial Court, prove on the balance of probability that as at the time of committing the offence, he lacked the capacity to;
- Understand what he was doing
- Control his actions
- Know that he ought not to act or make the omission
See BABANGIDA JOHN v THE STATE (2012) 7 NWLR (PT 1299) 336.
The issue agitating my mind in the instant appeal, is whether the Appellant herein has discharged this elementary burden placed on him.
I have examined the evidence on record. The only evidence of insanity is the information given to PW1 during investigation by the Appellant’s father. The Appellant did not call his father or any other witness to testify to his alleged insanity. The evidence of PW1 that the Appellant’s father said so is hearsay and is inadmissible by virtue of
SECTIONS 37 and 38 of the EVIDENCE ACT 2011 to prove that the Appellant was/is insane.
In NWOYE IGWEZE ONYEKWE v. THE STATE (1988) LPELR 2732 (SC), this Court detailed some of the guiding principles in establishing insanity viz:
- Evidence as to the past history of the accused.
- Evidence as to his conduct immediately preceding the killing of the deceased.
- Evidence from Prison Warders who had custody of the accused and looked after him during his trial.
- Evidence from Medical Officers and/or Psychiatrists who examined the accused.
- Evidence of relatives about the general behaviour of the accused and the reputation he enjoyed for sanity or insanity in his neighbourhood.
- Evidence showing that insanity appears in the family history of the accused.
See also UDOFIA v. STATE (1988) LPELR 3305 (SC).
There is nothing on record to show that the evidence adduced on behalf of the Appellant met any of the above listed guidelines to establish the defence of insanity. I therefore agree with learned counsel for the Respondent that the instant appeal is distinguishable from, and not on all fours with, the case of
LOKE v. THE STATE (1985) LPELR 1789 (SC). In LOKE’S case, there was ample evidence on record from relatives and neighbours as to the Appellant’s state of mind before, and after he killed his victim. This is not the situation in the instant appeal.
In his statement admitted at the trial as Exhibit G, the Appellant stated as follows:
“I, Amaoge Chukwu (m) freely wish to state as follows: I am from Akaeze Ukwu, I attended my primary school at Akaze Ukwu primary school but due to problem in 2007 1 stop schooling, I know Ajali Chukwu (f), she is from our village, I was bathing in the river with Ajali Chukwu on 31/8/09 when I pushed her and river carried her. I did not use stick on Ajali Chukwu. The only problem I have with Ajali Chukwu is that she always disturb me whenever she saw me lying in the bush after going to toilet, she will be calling me all sorts of names but on that very 31/8/09 after calling me what she like, I met her in the river called Eziaku River where she was bathing. I pushed her when she was on a block inside the river and she drowned in the water. That’s all.”
His oral testimony at the trial Court stated the same facts, though he added
that they started fighting and as they both fought, they fell into the river where she was drowned.
The behavior of the Appellant before and after killing the deceased does not suggest even remotely that he was insane. What was revealed from his evidence is that the killing of the deceased was premeditated and out of pure malice as rightly held by the Court below. The evidence before the Court shows that he was fully conscious and he knew what he was doing at the time he killed the deceased.
I find the judgment of the Court below unassailable and see no reason to disagree with the rejection of the defence of insanity in this case.
I therefore resolve this issue against the Appellant.
Whether the Court below was right when it affirmed the decision of the trial Court that the prosecution proved the evidence of murder beyond reasonable doubt against the appellant through cogent and credible evidence required by law.
It is submitted for the Appellant that the Prosecution had the burden to prove the guilt of the accused person beyond reasonable doubt and that such burden never shifts. Learned counsel contended that the
only prosecuting witness who tendered exhibits A to J merely dumped the documents before the trial Court and the Appellant was denied the opportunity to cross examine on these documents, being that the IPO was not the maker of the documents.
According to learned counsel for the Appellant, every document tendered through the IPO is nothing but hearsay. He referred this Court to SECTION 37 of the EVIDENCE ACT 2011, as well as these cases:
JAMB V ORJI (2008) 2 NWLR (PT 1072) 552;
ARCHIBONG V THE STATE (2004) 1 NWLR (PT 855) 488;
OCHIBA v. THE STATE (2011) 48 NSCQR 1 at 34.
He argued that hearsay evidence cannot be sufficient proof in a charge of murder. According to him, Exhibit F which is the autopsy report did not point directly to the cause of death; as to, whether it was strangulation or drowning, and since the maker of Exhibit F was not called in evidence, no weight ought to be attached to the document. He referred this Court to SECTIONS 67 and 68 of the EVIDENCE ACT.
He finally submitted that the penalty to be inflicted on the Appellant if the offence is proved, is the highest penalty that can be inflicted on any human
being. He insisted that proof of it must be beyond any iota of doubt, and that the Prosecution has failed to do.
He urged this Court to discharge and acquit the accused person.
In response, counsel for the Respondent submitted that proving the guilt of the accused person in any criminal offence must either be by:
- Direct evidence
- Circumstantial evidence.
He further submitted that for the offence of murder, the guilt of an accused person can be said to have been proved when the prosecution has established the following ingredients of the offence:
- The deceased is dead.
- That it was the act of the accused person that caused the death.
- That the act of the accused person was intentional with knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its consequence.
Learned counsel for the Respondent posited that by the evidence of PW1, the Appellant strangulated the deceased and submerged her in the river. He further maintained that the Appellant affirmed this evidence in his extra judicial statement to the police. He relied on the provision of SECTION 67 of the EVIDENCE ACT 2011 and the
case of OSENI v. STATE (2012) 5 NWLR (PT 1293) 351.
Learned counsel added, that assuming without conceding, that every other evidence be set aside, save the confessional statement of the Appellant; that in itself can secure the conviction of the Appellant. He commended this Court to the following cases:
ARCHIBONG v. STATE (2004) 1 NWLR (PT 855) 488;
GBADAMOSI v. THE STATE (1991) 6 NWLR (PT 196) 182.
This Court is therefore urged to resolve this issue against the Appellant and affirm the concurrent decisions of the trial Court and the Court below.
Learned Counsel on both sides are ad idem on the ingredients of the offence of murder under Section 319 of the CRIMINAL CODE (supra), which the Prosecution is required to establish in order to secure conviction.
At the risk of being repetitive, I shall again state the ingredients to be proved by the Prosecution. They are:
- That the victim died.
- That the death of the deceased resulted from the act of the accused.
- That the act of the accused was intended with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was the intended consequence.
See ALAO v THE STATE (2015) ALL FWLR (PT 795) 355.
The onus on the Prosecution to prove the cumulative presence of the ingredients cannot be compromised in any respect. The onus, which rests squarely on the prosecution throughout the case, does not shift at all. Where the prosecution fails to prove any of the ingredients, the offence of murder would not have been established beyond reasonable doubt and the accused person would be entitled to be discharged and acquitted. See
USMAN v. STATE (2015) LPELR 40855 (CA);
BABATUNDE VS STATE (2014) 2 NWLR (PT 1391) 298.
It must however, be emphasized that the burden of proof of the guilt of an accused person beyond reasonable doubt by the Prosecution in criminal cases should not be taken to mean that the prosecution must sustain its case beyond every shadow of doubt. Absolute certainty is impossible in any human adventure including the administration of justice. Thus, once the Prosecution has been able to prove that an offence has been committed and that no person other than the accused committed the offence, the prosecution is said to have established its case beyond reasonable doubt.
ADELEKE VS STATE (2013) 16 NWLR (PT 1381) 556
BABARINDE VS STATE (2014) 3 NWLR (PT 1395) 568.
On the first ingredient of the offence of murder, it was not in contest between the parties that the person referred to in the charge against the Appellant as Ajali Amah is dead. The sole witness of the Prosecution testified to the death of the deceased and tendered a Medical Report dated 03/09/2009 and authored by one Dr. Monday N. Igwe of the General Hospital Ivo, which confirmed the death of the deceased and same was admitted in evidence at the trial as Exhibit F.
On the second ingredient of the offence, which is whether it was the act of the Appellant that caused the death of the deceased, the law is that to establish this ingredient beyond reasonable doubt, the Respondent must establish the cause of death unequivocally and then there must be cogent evidence linking the cause of death to the act of the Appellant. See:
OCHE VS STATE (2007) 5 NWLR (PT 1021) 214,
EKPOISONG VS STATE (2009) 1 NWLR (PT 1122) 354,
ILIYASU VS STATE (2014) 15 NWLR (PT 1430) 245.
This point was emphatically made by the Supreme Court in OFORLETE VS STATE (2000) 12
NWLR (Pt 631) 415 thus:
“In every case where it is alleged that death has resulted from the act of a person, a causal link between the death and the act must be established and proved in a criminal proceeding, beyond reasonable doubt. The first and logical step in the process of such proof is to prove the cause of death. Where there is no certainty as to the cause of death, the enquiry should not proceed no further. Where the cause of death is ascertained, the next step in the enquiry is to link that cause of death with the act or omission of the person alleged to have caused it. These are factual questions to be answered by a consideration of the evidence.”
On the issue of cause of death, all the exhibits tendered by the Respondent as Prosecution point unequivocally to the fact that the Appellant drowned the deceased. The learned counsel for the Appellant had made heavy weather of the fact that Exhibit F was not particular on the cause of death of the deceased; as to whether it was by strangulation or by drowning.
It is trite that where there is evidence that a deceased person was hale and hearty before the occurrence of an offending
act and death is instantaneous or nearly so and there is no break in the chain of events from the time of the act that caused injury to the deceased to the time of the death, the death of the deceased will be attributed to that act, even without medical evidence of the cause of death. See:
AZU VS STATE (1993) 6 NWLR (PT 299) 303;
AKPA VS STATE (2008) 14 NWLR (PT 1106) 72;
JEREMIAH VS STATE (2012) 14 NWLR (PT 1320) 248.
The rationale for this position, which is founded on sound logic and common sense, is that since that act is the most proximate event to the death of the deceased, it should be regarded as the deciding factor even where it may be taken as merely contributory to the death of the deceased.
In this appeal under consideration, it is my view that the most proximate event to the death of the deceased is being thrown into the river which resulted in her being drowned. Whether there was strangulation or not before being thrown into the river is immaterial and I hold the view that the Respondent has led cogent evidence in proof thereof.
This takes me to the second limb of the second ingredient of murder, whether it was
the act of the Appellant that caused the death of the deceased.
It is settled law that in a criminal trial the Prosecution may prove the guilt of the defendant either by direct eye witness account or by circumstantial evidence from which the guilt of a defendant can be inferred or by a free and voluntary confessional statement of guilt which is direct and positive or by a combination of any of the three modes. See:
NIGERIAN NAVY v. LAMBERT (2007) 18 NWLR (PT 1066) 300, ILODIGWE v. STATE (2012) 18 NWLR (PT 1331) 1, UMAR v. STATE (2014) 13 NWLR (PT 1425) 497.
Reading through the judgment appealed against, it is evident that the Court below, as well as the trial Court, relied heavily on the confessional statement of the Appellant, Exhibit G, which states inter alia thus:
“I, Amaoge Chukwu (m) freely wish to state as follows: I am from Akaeze Ukwu, I attended my primary school at Akaze Ukwu primary school but do to problem in 2007 I stop schooling. I know Ajali Chukwu (f), she is from our village. I was bathing in the river with Ajali Chukwu on 31/8/09 when I pushed her and river carried her. I did not use stick on Ajali
Chukwu. The only problem I have with Ajali Chukwu is that she always disturb me whenever she saw me lying in the bush after going to toilet, she will be calling me all sorts of names but on that very 31/8/09 after calling me what she like, I met her in the river called Eziaku River where she was bathing. I pushed her when she was on a block inside the river and she drowned in the water. That’s all.”
What is to be determined now is whether the Court below rightly relied on the Appellant’s extra judicial.
The law is trite that an accused person can be convicted solely on his confession if the confession is positive and direct in the admission of the offence charged. In other words, voluntary confession of guilt whether judicial or extra judicial, if it is direct and positive is sufficient proof of the guilt and is enough to sustain a conviction, so long as the Court is satisfied with the truth of such a confession. See
SOLOLA VS. STATE (2005) 11 NWLR (PART 937) 460;
EDHIGERE V STATE (1996) 8 NWLR (PT 464) 1.
In ASIMI V. STATE (2016) LPELR – 40436 (SC), this Court per Rhodes Vivour JSC at Pp 14-15, para E-C stated succinctly thus:
“Once, an extra-judicial confession has been proved as in this case to have been made voluntarily and it is positive and unequivocal, amounting to an admission of guilt (such as the appellant’s confessional statement, Exhibit P6) a Court can convict on it even if the appellant retracted or resiled from it at trial. Such an afterthought does not make the confession inadmissible. It is desirable but not mandatory that there is general corroboration of the important incidents and not that retracted confession should be corroborated in each material particular.”
It is now axiomatic that a confessional statement can ground the conviction of an accused person provided that it is direct and positive. It is therefore no longer debatable that a man may be convicted on his confessional statement alone which is voluntary, free, positive, so long as the Court is satisfied of its truth. Such a confession would constitute proof of guilt of the maker and suffices as evidence upon which to ground or sustain his conviction. See:
IDOWU VS THE STATE (2007) 9 NWLR (PT. 1038) 30;
OZANA UBIERHO VS THE STATE (2005) 4 NWLR (PT. 919) 644 AT 655.
After all, a confession being an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime stating or suggesting the inference that he committed the offence, it is good law that it is the best evidence in criminal trial that the accused committed the offence with which he is charged, so long it satisfies the requirement of the law. See
IKPO VS THE STATE (2016) LPELR 40114 (SC);
ADEKOYA VS THE STATE (2012) 9 NWLR (PT. 1306) 539;
ASIMI VS THE STATE (2016) LPELR 40436 (SC).
This is so because who else knows it better and can say it better than the accused who hatched and executed the crime?
This is why in ADEBAYO VS ATTORNEY GENERAL OGUN STATE (2008) 3 NCC 305 AT 308 Tobi JSC (as he then was), stated thus:
Confession is the best evidence in criminal law. In it, the accused admits that he has committed the offence for which he is charged. For this purpose, the accused is the figural horse’s mouth. There cannot be better evidence.
The confession of the Appellant in Exhibit G proved beyond reasonable doubt that it was the act of the Appellant that caused the death of the deceased.
The third ingredient to be considered is
whether the act of the appellant was intentional with the knowledge that death was the probable consequences of his action.
I have had a thorough scrutiny of the evidence (both oral and documentary), adduced at the trial. In my view, all the evidence undoubtedly disclose that the Appellant pushed the deceased into the river, which led to her being drowned. The Appellant admitted that he pushed her into the river, which according to his oral testimony, was high in volume in the month of August and at the peak of the rainy season, when expectedly, the volume of the river would be very high. It seems to me that the only rational inference that can be drawn from the acts of the Appellant by virtue of the uncontradicted and unchallenged oral and documentary evidence adduced at the trial, is that the acts of the Appellant which caused the death of the deceased, were intentional with knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was the natural and probable consequence.
The Court below held inter alia, as follows:
I cannot find any reason to disagree with the reasoning and conclusion of the learned trial judge. Without any other document, the
confessional statement of the accused person, corroborated by his oral testimony in Court, is sufficient to ground the conviction of the Appellant. He went to meet with the deceased where she was bathing and pushed her into the river as a result of which she drowned. It is immaterial whether she was strangulated before she was pushed into the river. What is clearly established is that it was the action of the Appellant that resulted in the death of the deceased. The fact that the Appellant intended the consequence of his action is not in doubt… (See page 146 of the Record).
I find this decision of the Court below infallible and I agree wholly with them. The position of the law is that where there is evidence to support the concurrent findings of the two lower Courts, they will not be disturbed unless they are shown to be perverse, or a miscarriage of justice or violation of principles of law or procedure is shown on the Record. It is also settled that the onus lies on the Appellant to give good reasons why this Court should interfere with the concurrent findings of the two lower Courts. See: KURE v. COP (2020) LPELR 49378 (SC).
In JOHN v. STATE (2019) LPELR 46936 (SC), this Court held as follows:
“It is trite law that this Court would rarely interfere with concurrent findings of facts by the two Courts below except where such concurrent findings of facts appear to be perverse, occasion a miscarriage of justice, unreasonable and against the evidence adduced, or in violation of some principle of law and procedure. In such circumstances, this Court would not allow such perverse findings to stand.”
See also ASHAKACEM PLC v. ASHARATUL MUBASHSHURUN INVESTMENT LIMITED(2019) LPELR 46541 (SC).
Once an appellate Court finds that the conclusion reached by a lower Court is correct, it has no duty to interfere. Thus, the duty of an appellate Court to interfere will arise only where the finding, conclusion and/or decision of the lower Court is wrong and/or perverse. In law, a finding or conclusion of a Court is said to be perverse when such finding does not flow from the proved evidence or was arrived at wrongly or was anchored on extraneous matters. In all such circumstances, an appellate Court will interfere to set it aside and make appropriate finding as justified and borne out by the evidence
in the printed record of appeal. See:
OWOR V. CHRISTOPHER (2010) ALL FWLR (PT. 511) 962 @ P. 992;
MINI LODGE LTD. V. NGEI (2010) ALL FWLR (PT. 506) 1806 @ PP. 1820 – 1821.
In the circumstances therefore, the Court below having made the correct findings and reached the correct conclusion based on the evidence on record, I see no reason to set it aside.
The consequence of the above is that I also resolve this issue against the Appellant.
In the final analysis, I adjudge this appeal to be wholly unmeritorious and liable to be dismissed. Same is hereby dismissed by me.
The judgment of the Court below, delivered on the 29th of June 2018, is hereby affirmed.