Garos Bwashi V. The State (1972) LLJR-SC

Garos Bwashi V. The State (1972)

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The appellant, Garos Bwashi, was convicted in the High Court of the Benue – Plateau State, holden at Jos, of culpable homicide punishable with death in that on or about 10th July, 1971, she intentionally killed Davou Boyi, a boy of about five years of age at Chaha Village and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 220 and punishable under Section 221 of the Penal Code. She was sentenced to death. Her appeal to this Court against her conviction was on 26th May, 1972, dismissed.  We now give our reasons for doing so.

The facts of the case as found by the learned trial Judge, (Wheeler, Ag. SPJ.), are not in dispute.The case of the prosecution is quite simple and straightforward. It is based on the confession by the appellant, reinforced by circumstantial evidence. Succinctly stated, it is this: the appellant deliberately stabbed and seriously wounded Davou Boyi with a knife in the stomach with the intention of killing him and Davou Boyi subsequently died of the injuries which had resulted from the stab wounds.

It appears that on 10th July, 1971, Nyazi Davou, (P.W.2), on entering his house, saw the appellant and Davou Boyi (later deceased). He observed that Davou Boyi was lying on the floor and that his intestines were protruding from his stomach. He spoke to the appellant who immediately confessed that she had stabbed Davou Boyi, who incidentally, although seriously wounded, was still breathing at the time but could not speak. Nyazi Davou, (P.W.2), raised an alarm. Then John Lenge (P.W.3) visited the house. He saw Davou Boyi lying on the floor which was then covered with blood. On examining his body he noticed that Davou Boyi had two stab wounds in the stomach. He immediately reported the matter to the Police and then conveyed Davou Boyi in his car to the hospital for treatment.

Attracted by the alarm, Boyi Dalyop (P.W.4), the father of Davou Boyi, (deceased) went to the scene. He arrived just in time to see John Lenge (P.W.3) convey the boy to the hospital. Davou Boyi died in the hospital that night so that when later Boyi Dalyop, (P.W.4), visited the hospital, he found that Davou Boyi was already dead.

The matter having been reported to the Police, investigation was undertaken immediately. In the course of the investigation, the appellant made oral confessions to Sub-Inspector Daniel Luga (P.W.5) and P.C. Yohan Jatau (P.W.6); and finally P.C. Daniel Dachollom (P.W.7) recorded in writing the confessional statement, Exhibit ‘2’ in the Hausa Language (English translation, Exhibit ‘3’) in the proceedings made to him by the appellant after due caution. As the statement, Exhibit ‘3’ is of considerable importance, the substance whereof was virtually repeated by the appellant in her evidence at the trial, we reproduce it hereunder in full. Exhibit ‘3’ in the proceedings reads as follows:

“I, Garos Bwashi what I will say is this, this woman by name Kumbo, my husband named Bwashi is keeping her as his wife according to our custom because her husband is dead, what make me to kill this boy by named Davou Boyi because I told this my husband that my son’s children are dying all the time but he don’t “want to take action, but he said that it is not topic it is jealousing because he is sleeping with my mate Kumbo, then on 10th July, 1971 at about 3 p.m. I left my house at Kogom and I went to Kumbo’s house at Chaha holding a knife with me in my hand, then I met the boy in the house with his sister named Vou, I held the boy and cut the stomach and the intestine came out, I threw the knife outside the house, and I wash my hands in a bucket. I start to go to the Police Station and I found Police men on the way coming (they) we returned back to the house together with them, search for the knife and we found it outside by then the boy was taken to the hospital, Vom Hospital, Police men brought me to the Police Station K. Vom , that is what I know.”

It should be noted that the knife to which reference is made in the statement, Exhibit ‘3’, and the bucket of water in which the appellant confessed to have washed her bloody hands were recovered and seen respectively by P.C. Yohan Jatau (PW6), the knife being produced and put in evidence and marked Exhibit ‘1’ in the proceedings.

In his judgment, the learned trial Judge gave careful consideration to the evidence as a whole and to all possible defences open to the appellant and dismissed each such defence as untenable. He rightly, in our view rejected, for the benefit of the appellant, the medical evidence given by Dr. Fouad Nadeem (PW1), who performed the post mortem examination on the body of Davou Boyi (deceased) on the ground that there was conflict as to the identity of the body on which the examination was performed. He, however, quite rightly we think, on the authority of Kato Dan Adamu v. Kano Native Authority (1956) 1 FSC 25, drew the inference which we consider irresistible as to the cause of death from the circumstances disclosed by the evidence including the confession of the appellant which was carefully tested for corroboration.

The learned trial Judge concluded his judgment in the following words:

“I have examined the knife which has been produced as an exhibit and which the accused admits she used to stab the deceased. It is a lethal weapon and I find, taking due account of the background of the accused that she must be taken to have known that in striking the deceased with it in such a vulnerable part of the human body as the stomach that his death was a probable, and not merely a likely consequence of her act. I find that she intended to cause the death of Davou Boyi when she stabbed him.
I am satisfied the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, and I find the accused guilty as charged.”

On a careful examination of the evidence as a whole, it is impossible to hold that the above conclusion reached by the learned trial Judge was unreasonable or unwarranted or that it could not be supported having regard to the evidence. Mr. Gaji, learned counsel who appeared for the appellant rightly intimated to the court that he could find nothing to urge in favour of the appellant. The appeal was accordingly dismissed.

Other Citation: (1972) LCN/1408(SC)

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