Egbo Ojojo Vs The State (1970)
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On the 4th of February, 1970, we struck out the appeal of the appellant from his conviction of murder by Prest, J. on the 14th of July, 1969, in the Ughelli High Court on Charge UHC/15C/69, because his notice of appeal was only signed by him on 27th September, 1969 and filed on the 3rd of October, 1969 and so was given more than 30 days after the 14th of July, 1969, so that by virtue of section 31 (2) of the Supreme Court Act he was out of time and this Court has no power by reason of section 31 (4) of that Act in a case involving a sentence of death to extend the period of 30 days within which appeal may be brought, as we have indicated for instance in Frubide v. The State Sc. 107/69 of the 26th of June, 1969.
We are nonetheless satisfied from reading the record that there was in any case no merit in the appeal as there was an eye-witness that the learned trial judge believed to the unprovoked attack at night by the appellant with a matchet on the unarmed deceased woman after he had already attacked and injured with his matchet two prosecution witnesses.
Moreover, though the appellant had denied in his evidence killing the deceased woman or even seeing her on the night in question he had, in a statement that the learned trial judge accepted, confessed to giving the deceased matchet cuts.
We do however, wish to draw attention to the importance of trial judge specifically informing an accused person whom he has convicted of murder and sentenced to death that if the accused wishes to appeal he must give notice of his appeal within 30 days, so that he does not delay signing and submitting his notice beyond that period.
We equally wish to draw attention to the importance of the prison authorities submitting such notice immediately as a notice of appeal signed within time by a person sentenced to death and given to the prison authorities should whenever possible be sent to the requisite High Court for filing within 30 days of the decision appealed against.
For the reasons we have given however we were compelled to strike out this appeal.
Other Citation: (1970) LCN/1830(SC)