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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Musa V. State (2021) LLJR-SC

Musa V. State (2021) LLJR-SC

Musa V. State (2021)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

ABDU ABOKI, J.S.C.

This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division (hereafter to be called the Court below), delivered on the 9th of February, 2018.

The appellant and other accused persons were convicted and sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for the offences of conspiracy and armed robbery contrary to Section 97(1) and 298 respectively, of the Penal Code Law of Kano State.

The charges against them in the amended charge sheet dated 14/7/2010, read as follows:

1st Head of Charge

That you, Alhaji Tahir Yahaya, Salisu Adamu, Usman Hamza, Sani Ayuba, Muhammed Musa and Maikudi Haliu, on or about the 5th September, 2007 at about 1930hrs, at No. 900 Muhammed Gauyana Road, Hotoro GRA in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Kano State within the Kano Judicial Division, agreed to do an illegal act, to wit: rob Aisha Muhammed Yakassai of No. 900 Muhammed Gauyana Road, Hoyoro and that the same act was done in pursuance of the agreement and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97(1) of the Penal Code (Cap 105) Laws of Kano State 1991.

2nd Head of Charge

That you, Alhaji Tahir Yahaya, Salisu Adamu, Usman Hamza, Sani Ayuba, Muhammed Musa and Maikudi Haliu, on or about the 5th September, 2007 at about 1930hrs, at No. 900 Muhammed Gauyana Road, Hotoro GRA in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Kano State within the Kano Judicial Division, while armed with guns and other weapons robbed one Aisha Mohammed Yakassai of her following items: N250,000.00 cash, 13 sets of gold jewelries, 10 handsets, bangles and wristwatches valued at N1.8 Million and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 289 of the Penal Code (Cap 105) Laws of Kano State 1991.

​The case of the prosecution as told by the victim, Aisha Mohammed (PW1) is that the appellant was among a gang of armed robbers that robbed her on the 5th of September, 2007 when she came back home from greeting her mother who had just returned from a trip. The armed robbers had locked up her domestic staff in a room, after collecting their handsets. The armed robbers asked them to lie down at the living room, while they searched all the rooms in the house and found money and gold and when they heard Police siren, they escaped. Thereafter, she was able to identify some of them, at the invitation of the Police, while the others were caught when they tried to sell the items to one Aliyu Abdulhamid.

The appellant and the other accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In proof of its case, the prosecution called 2 witnesses and tendered 6 exhibits. The appellant and the others testified for themselves and called no other witness.

In its judgment, the trial Court convicted them as charged and they were sentenced to 40 years imprisonment.

​Aggrieved by his conviction and sentence, the appellant appealed to the Court below vide a notice of appeal dated 27/7/2016, containing 3 grounds of appeal, from which the appellant formulated three issues for determination, by the Court below. They are:

  1. Whether from the totality of the evidence adduced, the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the appellant to secure the appellant’s conviction at the trial Court for the offence of armed robbery as provided for by Section 289(1) of the Penal Code Laws of Kano State.
  2. Whether from the totality of the evidence adduced, the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt against the appellant, to secure the conviction at the trial Court of the offence of criminal conspiracy as provided for by Section 97(1) of the Penal Code Laws of Kano State.
  3. Whether exhibits 1 and 5 being confessional statements of the 3rd and 1st convicts can be used to convict the appellant without the appellant adopting the said exhibits?

The respondent distilled two issues for determination by the Court below, namely:

  1. Whether from the totality of evidence, the offence of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery under Sections 97 and 289 of the Penal Code (applicable in Kano State), were proved against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt to warrant his conviction by the trial Court.
  2. Whether from the circumstances of the case, the trial Court had properly used the confessional statement of the appellant to convict him of the offences of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery?

In its judgment, the Court below affirmed the judgment of the trial Court and dismissed the appellant’s appeal.

​Still aggrieved, the appellant appealed to this Court. The notice of appeal, filed on the 7th of March 2018, is upon six grounds.

In the appellant’s brief filed on the 6th of June 2018, three issues were donated to this Court for determination. They are:

  1. Whether the failure of the lower Court not to consider issue No. 3 of the appellant’s issues for determination in determining the appeal at the lower Court is not tantamount to denial of the appellant’s right of fair hearing as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 CFRN as amended?
  2. Whether the lower Court was right to have held that the appellant’s statement was a confessional statement to the commission of the offence as charged, thereby making the appellant one of the robbers that robbed PW1?
  3. Whether from the evidence on record, the lower Court was justified in upholding the decision of the trial Court that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt, the offence of conspiracy and armed robbery against the appellant as provided for under the Penal Code Law of Kano State, to warrant the sentencing?

​The respondent’s brief of argument was filed on the 29th of March, 2019 but deemed filed on the 16th of October, 2019. Learned counsel for the respondent formulated sole issue for determination, viz:

“Whether from the circumstances of the case and the totality of the evidence adduced, the offence of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery were proved beyond reasonable doubt to secure conviction of the appellant?”

I shall first consider the appellant’s issue one, which asks the question:

“Whether the failure of the lower Court not to consider issue No.3 of the appellant’s issues for determination in determining the appeal at the lower Court is not tantamount to denial of the appellant’s right of fair hearing as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 CFRN as amended?

It is contended for the appellant that the trite position of the law is that when a party raises an issue before the Court, such an issue must be considered and determined by the Court, and failure to so do, is tantamount to the denial of a party’s right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 of the CFRN 1999, as amended. Reliance was placed on the case of Agbo v. State (2006) ALL FWLR (Pt. 773) 1950, (2006) 6 NWLR (Pt. 977) 545.

​Learned counsel for the appellant argued that the failure of the Court below to consider the appellant’s issue three before it, occasioned a miscarriage of justice. He invited the attention of this Court to the appellant’s issue three at pages 178-181 of the record, and opined that had the Court below considered the said issue three, it would have exculpated the appellant from the offence charged, as the issue borders on the confessional statement of the appellant’s co-convict at the trial Court, which the trial Judge used to convict and sentence the appellant.

He posited that the law is trite that the confessional statement of an accused person is the only evidence against the accused person and no other, citing the case of State v. Gwangwan (2015) ALL FWLR (Pt. 801) 1495, (2015) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1477) 600.

He therefore urged this Court to resolve this issue in favour of the appellant and hold that the appellant’s right to fair hearing was breached, which occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

​Learned counsel for the respondent in his brief did not address the argument contained in the appellant’s brief in relation to the first issue. Be that as it may, failure by one party to counter the arguments of the adverse party does not automatically amount to merit in the uncontested arguments though deemed conceded. Thus, the Court is still under a duty to consider the arguments on their own merit. SeeFulani M. v. State (2018) LPELR 45195 (SC), (2019) 1 NWLR (Pt.1653) 237.

Let me, as a preliminary point, state that the law is well settled that, it is the duty of a Court either of first instance or appellate jurisdiction to consider all the issues joined and argued by the parties before the Court and where it failed to do so, valid reasons must be advanced for the neglect. Particularly for penultimate Courts whose decisions are subject to appeal, there is need for them to pronounce on all issues articulated before them so that the appellate Court may have the opportunity of being seised of the facts and to assess the decisions on each such issues in order to avoid situations where the ultimate Court may have to remit a case to the lower Court for hearing. It is only the apex Court that can determine a case on a single issue which terminates the proceedings or appeal. See: Honeywell Flour Mills Plc v. Ecobank (2018) LPELR 45127(SC), (2019) 2 NWLR (Pt.1655) 35.

The next point of interest my Lords, is to ascertain whether the Court below failed in its duty to consider all the issues raised for determination before it. At page 197 of the record, the Court below held thus:

See also  Eugene Massango Ngoh Vs Moses Ngonja Ndoke And Anor (1960) LLJR-SC

“I shall consider this appeal on a single issue reframed thus:

“Whether from the totality of the evidence adduced, the ingredients of the offences of conspiracy and armed robbery were proved by the respondent beyond reasonable doubt to secure the conviction of the appellant?”

The Court below thereafter determined the appeal based on the sole issue reframed by it.

In State v. Sani (2018) LPELR 43598 SC, (2018) 9 NWLR (Pt.1624) 278, this Court held that:

“The law is trite, that an appellate Court has the right or duty where appropriate, to formulate, re-formulate or reframe issue or issues for determination of an appeal especially in a situation where it is of the opinion that the issue(s) as formulated by learned counsel to any of the parties did not encompass the actual points in controversy in the appeal. In doing so however, the issue(s) to be re-formulated by the appellate Court must be consistent with the ground(s) of appeal.”

I am unable to uphold the contention of the appellant that the Court below did not consider his issue three. For the avoidance of doubt, the 3rd issue raised by the appellant at the Court below reads as follows:

“Whether exhibits 1 & 5 being confessional statements of the 3rd and 1st convicts can be used in convicting the appellant, without the appellant adopting same?”

At page 199 of the record, the Court below, in its summary of the appellant’s brief, stated thus:

“ …He contended that exhibit 1 (statement of the 3rd convict) and exhibit 5 (statement of the 1st convict) relied upon by the trial Court to convict the appellant do not implicate the appellant in the commission of the crime and that the confessional statement of an accused does not bind his co-accused…”

The Court below then held inter alia, as follows, at pages 203-206 of the record that:

“it is trite that the Court can convict solely on the confessional statement of the accused person on it is direct, positive and unequivocal. In exhibit 3 contained at page 101-104, the appellant confessed to the commission of the armed robbery… The trial Court went on a voyage of collaboration to get something outside the confessional statement of the appellant. It placed reliance therefore on the evidence of PW1 and PW2…”

​From the foregoing, I must say that the grouse of the counsel of the appellant that the Court below did not consider the issue he raised is of no moment since the sole issue framed by the Court below had encapsulated all the issues raised by him and all the points raised in his submissions were well attended to and duly considered. No miscarriage of justice was occasioned to him at all and also no rules of fair hearing was infringed or violated. It is glaringly obvious, as borne out of the record that the trial Court did not rely upon exhibit 1 (statement of the 3rd convict) and exhibit 5 (statement of the 1st convict) in convicting the appellant, but on the appellant’s confessional statement and the evidence of PW1 and PW2. The argument of the appellant, therefore, that the trial Court relied on the confessional statements of the other convicts, cannot avail him. The Court below was right in affirming the decision of the trial Court.

I therefore resolve this issue against the appellant.

The summation of this appeal my Lords, is as captured in the respondent’s sole issue, which questions:

“Whether from the circumstances of the case and the totality of the evidence adduced, the offence of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery were proved beyond reasonable doubt to secure the conviction of the appellant?”

It is submitted for the appellant that the appellant’s extra-judicial statement found at pages 101-104 of the record, and admitted as exhibit 3 at the trial Court, was not a confession to the offence he was charged with.

Learned counsel for the appellant referred to the wording of the 2nd head of charge at pages 6-7 of the record, and argued that exhibit 3 only showed that the appellant was involved in a series of robberies, and not the particular on…. he was charged with, which is robbing one Aisha Muhammad of No. 900 Muhammad Guayana Road, Hotoro GRA Nassarawa LGA, Kano State.

​He argued that neither the victim, nor any of the prosecution witnesses identified the appellant as one of the robbers, which corroborated the unchallenged testimony of the appellant at pages 83-87 of the record that no one was able to identify him, as one of the armed robbers. Reliance was placed on the case of Michael Ebeinwe v. State (2011) 3 SCM 56, (2011) 7 NWLR (Pt.1246) 402.

On whether the prosecution was able to prove the offence of armed robbery against the appellant, it is the view of learned counsel for the appellant that the prosecution was unable to discharge the burden of proof imposed on it, in that the ingredients of the offence of armed robbery, as listed in the case of Olanipekun v. The State (2012) All FWLR (Pt. 607) 763, (2016) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1528) 100, to wit: that there was a robbery; that the robbery was an armed robbery; that the accused was the armed robber or one of the armed robbers; were not proved against the appellant.

​He noted that though it was apparent from the testimony of PW1 that she was robbed, the prosecution failed to establish that it was an armed robbery. According to learned counsel for the appellant, it was incumbent on the prosecution to tender the offensive weapon used in the commission of the offence to corroborate the testimony of PW1 that not only was she robbed, but that the robbery was an armed robbery. He insisted that the failure of prosecution to tender both the offensive weapon used in the alleged robbery, and the stolen items allegedly recovered from one Aliyu Abdulhamid, was fatal to the case of the prosecution.

Learned counsel for the appellant argued that none of the prosecution witnesses identified the appellant as one of the people that robbed the victim, and nowhere in the appellant’s extra-judicial statement, exhibit C, was the appellant linked to the offences charged.

Relying on the case of Oduneye v. State (2001) All FWLR (Pt. 38) 1203, (2001) 2 NWLR (Pt.697) 311, he urged this Court to discharge and acquit the appellant.

On the offence of conspiracy, it is submitted for the appellant that exhibit 3, which was relied upon by the trial Court in convicting the appellant, did not in any way, implicate the appellant as conspiring with the other convicts.

Learned counsel for the appellant relied on the case of Sani v. State (2015) All FWLR (Pt. 763) 1885, (2015) 15 NWLR (Pt.1483) 522 and argued that it is apparent from the record that the prosecution failed to prove the ingredients of conspiracy against the appellant.

This Court is thus urged to resolve this issue in the appellant’s favour, allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the Court below and discharge and acquit the appellant.

In response, it is contended for the respondent that exhibit 3, which is the confessional statement of the appellant, and which was admitted in evidence without objection, is the best guide to the truth of the role played by the appellant, and which alone, can ground the appellant’s conviction. Reliance was placed on the case of Ogoala v. State (1991) 2 NWLR (Pt. 175) 509.

See also  Alhaja K. F. Ibiyeye V. A. A. Fojule & Ors (2006) LLJR-SC

Learned counsel for the respondent argued that exhibit 3 was sufficiently corroborated by the uncontroverted evidence of PW1 and PW2 and the trial Court was right, as affirmed by the Court below to convict the appellant as charged. The case of Mafa v. The State (2012) LPELR-9297 SC, (2013) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1342) 607 was cited and relied on.

​On the offence of conspiracy, it is the view of learned counsel for the respondent going by the provisions of Section 96 of the Penal Code of Kano State as well as the case of Simon v. State (2017) 1 SCNJ 414, (2017) 8 NWLR (Pt.1566) 119, all the Court needs is only to be satisfied with the complicity of the accused person in the offence, and as rightly held by the trial Court at page 207 of the record, and affirmed by the Court below:

“conspiracy to commit an offence is quite often inferred from circumstantial evidence. It is based on common intent, or purpose. When once there is such evidence to commit the substantive offence, it is settled that it does not matter that any of the conspirators did what”

He therefore urged this Court to resolve the issue against the appellant, and hold that the respondent, as prosecution, proved the offence of criminal conspiracy and armed robbery, beyond reasonable doubt, and dismiss the appeal.

The long and short of the stance of the appellant is that the trial, conviction and sentence of the appellant are a nullity as there was no nexus between the appellant and the commission of the offences charged and the respondent had failed to prove the case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.

​It is settled law that in order to discharge the burden of establishing the guilt of an accused person beyond reasonable doubt in a charge of armed robbery, the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. That there was robbery or series of robberies.
  2. That each of the robberies was an armed robbery.
  3. That the appellant was the robber or one of those who participated in the armed robbery.

See: Ameh v. State (2018) LPELR 44463 (SC), (2018) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1632) 99; State v. Fadezi (2018) LPELR-44731(SC), (2018) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1650) 1; Olayinka v. State (2007) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1040) 561.

​PW1 is the victim of the armed robbery attack and she gave a firsthand account of what transpired on that day. According to her, the appellant was among a gang of armed robbers that robbed her on the 5th of September, 2007 when she came back home from greeting her mother who had just returned from a trip. The armed robbers had locked up her domestic staff in a room, after collecting their handsets. The armed robbers asked them to lie down at the living room. While they searched all the rooms in the house and found money and gold and when they heard Police siren, they escaped. Thereafter, she was able to identify some of them, at the invitation of the Police, while the others were caught when they tried to sell the items to one Aliyu Abdulhamid.

​PW2, is a Police Detective. He testified that a case of armed robbery was reported to their control room at Bompai Kano Police Command; that the armed robbers were laying siege at the house of Hajiya Aisha Mohammed Guyana Hotoro Quarters, Nasarawa GRA but the armed robbers had already left the scene of the crime before they got there. The next day, the victim, PW1 reported how the armed robbers attacked her and stole her belongings and properties. They took the sum of N250,000.00, ten handsets and 13 sets of gold and jewelries valued at N1.8 Million. Subsequently, the convicts were arrested whilst trying to sell the set of jewelries to one Aliyu Abdulhamid of Sallari Quarters, Kano. The appellant and the other convicts were taken to the State CID where they made their statements to the Police. The statements of the appellant and the 3rd, 4th and 6th convicts were admitted without objection, whilst that the 1st and 2nd convicts were admitted after a trial within trial had been conducted. The statement of the appellant, admitted without objection was marked exhibit 3.

The appellant in his defence stated that he was arrested while he was trying to help some people change the tyre of their car. That after 3 days he was brought out of his cell and was told to remove his clothes. He was taken to accused/suspects. Guns and other weapons were displayed and he (the appellant) was told to sit down. That he spent a total of 7 months at the State CID before he was taken to a Magistrate Court for the offence of armed robbery and later taken to the Central Prison, Kano. Under cross-examination, his statement was read out to him and he stated that he had no idea about what had been read out to him. That he made his statement in Arabic.

​In the instant case, I hold the view that there was no serious doubt as to the identity of the appellant as one of the robbers. Although PW1 did not specifically mention him, PW2 in his evidence testified as to how the appellant was apprehended while he and the other convicts were arrested at the point they were attempting to sell the sets of gold to one Aliyu Abdulhamid. The appellant confessed to his part in the crime in his statement, exhibit 3. The statement which is found at pages 101-104 of the record, and it reads inter alia, as follows:

‘’They explained that their vehicle is smaller that I should come 4pm and meet with him and he brought out gun that he came from Naibawa with it Alhaji Tahir two rifles and we met at Naibawa at 6pm, Alhaji Tahir Salisu Adamu Jan Way Alh. Usman Hanza, Driver and I and we went to a house along Naibawa side by Road… I held one gun and Alhaji Tahir held one gun and Salisu held one and we attacked the house and we met one old man and we got N24,000 and one handset and the people raised alarm and Jan Way and the driver ran with the car and everywhere we went, we do released (sic) some shots in the air and we jumped across the express and ran away ….”

​The learned trial Judge considered the facts as stated above along with the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and found that their evidence corroborated the contents of the confessional statements. In other words, he properly applied the settled guidelines in determining the truthfulness of the confessional statement, to wit:

(i) Whether there is anything outside the confession which shows that it may be true;

(ii) Whether the confessional statement is in fact corroborated.

(iii) Whether the relevant statement of fact made in it are most likely true as far as they can be tested;

(iv) Whether the accused had the opportunity of committing the offence;

(v) Whether the confession is possible, and;

(vi) Whether the alleged confession is consistent with other facts that have been ascertained and established.

See: Ubierho v. The State (2005) 5 NWLR (Pt.919) 644.

The above guidelines are also known as the test in R v. Sykes (1913) 8 Cr. App. Reports 233.

The settled position of the law is that although a Court can act on a retracted confessional statement, such statement must be subjected to the guidelines enumerated above.

​I am of the considered view that there was no uncertainty whatsoever regarding the identity of the appellant as one of those who committed the offence. He confessed to his part in the crime and thereby fixed himself at the scene. Furthermore, even though the appellant retracted his confessional statements at the trial, the learned trial Judge was correct in the manner in which he treated the statement by considering their weight in relation to the other evidence adduced and proved by the prosecution. The Court below at page 206 of the record reviewed the findings of the learned trial Judge in respect of exhibit 3 as follows:

“… The trial Court went on a voyage of collaboration to get something outside the confessional statement of the appellant. It placed reliance therefore on the evidence of PW1 and PW2 that there were 6 people that took part in the armed robbery, including the appellant. Furthermore, on the testimonies and evidence of the 6 accused persons including that of the appellant, the trial Court held at page 146 amongst others that “although each denied committing the offence they have been charged with … I have carefully gone through the testimony of each and every one of the accused persons and I find their testimony to be an afterthought which they concocted to try one escape justice.”

See also  Maurice Dumbo & Ors V Chief Stephen Idugboe (1983) LLJR-SC

The Court below was in agreement with the decision of the trial Court, which decision I also endorse.

​It has been contended for the appellant that it was incumbent on the prosecution to tender the offensive weapon used in the commission of the offence to corroborate the testimony of PW1 that not only was she robbed, but that the robbery was an armed robbery, adding that the failure of the prosecution to tender both the offensive weapon used in the alleged robbery, and the stolen items allegedly recovered from one Aliyu Abdulhamid, was fatal to the case of the prosecution.

​I have here before listed the ingredients of the offence of armed robbery punishable under Section 298 of the Penal Code. The essential ingredient of the offence of armed robbery is simply that at the time of the robbery, the accused person was carrying arms or in company of any person carrying such arms or any offensive weapons. Whether such arms were used on the victim or not is also not material at all provided all offensive weapon was proved to have been held by any of accused person at the material time. Whether there was a shooting or not or whether the appellant carried it or triggered the shot or even if it was not shot at all, is immaterial. The important thing is that the holding of such arms did or would obviously cause violence or fear of injury on the victim against him or his property and for that reason he (the victim) surrendered such property for fear that he will be injured. The law is trite that in order to secure a conviction for the offence of armed robbery, the prosecution is only duty bound to prove;

(a) That there was an armed robbery.

(b) That the accused was armed in company with any person so armed; and

(c) that the accused while with arm or arms or in company with person so armed, participated in the robbery.

Once the prosecution proves the aforementioned elements of the offence of armed robbery beyond reasonable doubt, its failure to tender the arms or offensive weapon cannot lead to his acquittal because of the possibility of the accused person doing away with the arms or weapon after the commission of the crime in order to exculpate himself from detection or arrest.

See: Ameh v. State (2018) LPELR-44463 SC; Olayinka v. State (2007) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1040) 561; Okosi v. A.-G., Bendel State (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 100) 642.

​I must emphasize here that there is no principle of law that insists that the prosecution must tender weapons used in the alleged robbery in order to prove the guilt of an accused person. The tendering of the weapons used depends on the circumstance of the case, for instance, where the prosecution stated that any weapon used in the robbery was recovered. See Olayinka’s case (supra). The hues and cries of learned counsel for the appellant that the respondent did not tender any weapon, cannot avail him. See also: Abiodun v. The State (2013) All FWLR (Pt. 700) 1257 at 1269 Para E, (2013) 9 NWLR (Pt.1358) 138.

In respect to the offence of conspiracy, while the appellant is of the view that it was not proved; the respondent disagrees. For a fact, conspiracy is an offence that is often deduced or inferred from the acts of the parties and not usually by direct evidence of the meeting of the minds. The reason is simple, that discussions and agreements to do an illegal act or carry out a legal act by illegal means are transactions in secret and normally shrouded from those not part of the deal. The dictum of this Court per Adekeye, JSC (as he then was) inOnyenye v. State (2012) LPELR-7866 SC, (2012) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1324) 586 is useful. According to his Lordship:

“In effect, conspiracy can be inferred from the acts of doing things towards a common end where there is no direct evidence in support of an agreement between the accused persons. The conspirators need not know themselves and need not have agreed to commit the offence at the same time. The Courts tackle the offence of conspiracy as a matter of inference to be deduced from certain criminal acts or inactions of the parties concerned.”

Taking that matter of how conspiracy is established in the realm of what transpired in this case from the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and the confessional statements of the appellant, and placing them alongside the defence put up by the appellant, the trial Court and as affirmed by the Court of Appeal had no difficulty in reaching the conclusion that the standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt had been met. I agree. What is expected of the prosecution is proof beyond reasonable doubt and not beyond a shadow or an iota of doubt. I call in aid the case of Nwaturuocha v. State (2011) 2 – 3 SC (Pt. 1) 111524, (2011) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1242) 170.

​One thing that is certain is that where all the essential ingredients of the offence charged have been proved or established by the prosecution as done in this matter, the charge is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The concurrent findings of the two Courts below are that there was a robbery, it was an armed robbery and the appellant was one of the robbers. Also the two Courts accepted the extra-judicial statement of the appellant! i.e. exhibits 3 as a confessional statement. Also found by the two lower Courts was that the offence of conspiracy had been firmly established from the circumstances discerned from evidence before Court. Moreover, the failure to object to the admissibility of the statement exhibit 3, has derailed the subsequent attempt by the appellant to disown the statement. I cannot fault the Court below in its judgment.

The question at this point would be to what shall I place reliance on, to disturb, alter, reverse or set aside these findings? I see no such anchor in sight as I rely on what the appellate Courts including the Supreme Court had enjoined over the years to go along those findings concurrently made.

In Nwaturuocha v. State (supra), this Court, per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC (as he then was), held as follows:

“Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond all doubt or all shadow of doubt. It simply means establishing the guilt of the accused person with compelling and conclusive evidence. A degree of compulsion which is consistent with a high degree of probability. This Court will not interfere with concurrent findings of the trial Court and the Court of Appeal on issues of fact except where the findings are perverse or there is established a miscarriage of justice or a violation of principles of law or procedure…”

In my view, the trial Court carefully considered and evaluated the evidence in this case and came to the correct decision, as affirmed by the Court below, that the case against the appellant has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

In the light of the foregoing, I am satisfied that the prosecution has carried out the burden laid upon it by law to prove the essential ingredients of the offences of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery, beyond reasonable doubt.

This appeal is therefore lacking in merit and it is hereby dismissed.

​The judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, which affirmed the conviction and sentence of 40 years imprisonment for the offences of conspiracy and armed robbery contrary to Section 97(1) and 298 respectively, of the Penal Code Law of Kano State on the appellant, is hereby affirmed.

SC.311/2018

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