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Home » Nigerian Cases » Supreme Court » Raphael Ude V The State (2016) LLJR-SC

Raphael Ude V The State (2016) LLJR-SC

Raphael Ude V The State (2016)

LAWGLOBAL HUB Lead Judgment Report

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD, J.S.C.

This judgment is in respect of Appeals No. SC.64/2013 and No. SC./65/2013.

Appeals No. SC.64/2013

This is an appeal against the judgment of the Owerri Division of the Court of Appeal, the lower Court, delivered on the 27th day of April 2012, affirming the conviction and death sentence of the appellant and two others by the Abia State High Court, the trial Court, Coram S. N. Imo, (Chief Judge as he then was). The latter’s judgment was delivered on the 1st day of July, 2010.

The appellant, Raphael Ude, and nine others were tried on a three count information at the Umuahia High Court for the murder of Sunday Ude, Chief Cornelius Orjiogo and Johnson Onwuegbuchulam contrary to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code CAP 30 Vol. II laws of the Eastern Nigeria as applicable to Abia State. The offences were committed between the 4th and 5th of January, 2007 at Lokpanta, a community within the Umunneochi Judicial Division of the Abia State High Court.

To establish its case, the respondent called six witnesses. The appellant and the other

accused persons testified on their own behalf and called no other witnesses in their defence. At the end of trial, the appellant and two others, namely, Chukwuma Ilomuanya and David Amaefula, were convicted while the 4th to the 10th accused persons were discharged and acquitted. I shall elaborate on the facts that brought about the appeal at once.

The appellant, others convicted along with him as well as the persons murdered by them all hail from Lokpanta in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State. Lokpanta Youth Movement and the Lokpanta Development Union came into existence, the latter being the first in time, with the objective of enhancing the development of the Lokpanta Community. The former’s rivalry with the latter took an unwholesome trend. Its members serially threatened persons in the community and constituted themselves into a Court adjudicating in all manner of cases. The appellant and his co accused belonged to the youth movement. Their victims were members of the Lokpanta Development Union. Following the youth movement’s resolve to wrestle power from the Lokpanta development Union, its women members staged a demonstration in

support of their organisation on the 3rd January, 2007. The appellant who had been billed to become the youth movement president said to have sponsored the demonstration. In the course of the demonstration, which eventually degenerated into a riot, the deceased were visited and subjected to abuse and torture in their respective houses by the appellant and other members of the youth movement. By the 4th of January, 2007, the deceased persons along with PW4 were rounded up, taken to the market square where they were flogged and thereafter transported on motorcycles to a bush on a hill by the Lokpanta and Agwu border. At the hill, the deceased were brutally murdered and their dismembered bodies burnt. PW4, who was also forcefully transported by their abductors, escaped the clutch of the assassins by jumping into a pit and fleeing to safety.

The appellant denied taking part in the murder of the deceased and insists that he is implicated by his detractors.

At the end of trial, the Court preferred the case of the respondent and convicted the appellant and the 2 other accused persons as charged. Appellant’s appeal to the Court below was dismissed

thus the instant appeal on a Notice containing four grounds on 2nd July, 2012.

At the hearing of the appeal, parties having identified their briefs adopted same as their arguments for and against the appeal. The four issues distilled by the appellant as having arisen for the determination of the appeal read:-

  1. Whether the quality of eye-witness evidence relied upon by the Court below in affirming the conviction of the Appellant by the trial Court is not questionable and doubtful and therefore insufficient to sustain the affirmation of conviction of the Appellant by the Court below. Ground 1
  2. Whether the Court below was not wrong in holding that the prosecution demolished the Appellants alibi when indeed the alibi given to the police at the earliest opportunity was not found to be false. Ground 2
  3. Whether the Court below was not wrong in affirming the trial Courts decision that the Appellant counseled and procured other accused persons to kill the deceased in the absence of specific intention and positive acts of encouragement. Ground 3

Whether the Court below was not wrong in

affirming the trial Court’s conviction of the Appellant wherein Appellants evidence at the trial Court was given scant regard thus violating Appellants right to fair hearing.

Ground 4 (Underlining provided for emphasis).

The issues identified by the respondent as relevant in determining the appeal are:-

i. Whether the testimonies of PW1, PW2, PW3 and PW4 disclosed sufficient evidence upon which the Court of Appeal could have affirmed the decision of the trial Court.

ii. Whether the alibi relied upon by the appellant at the trial Court was not demolished by the prosecution witnesses.

iii. Whether the Court below was not right in affirming the trial Courts decision that the appellant counseled and procured the other accused persons to kill the deceased persons.

iv. Whether the Court below was not right in affirming the decision of the trial Court when it is apparent the appellant was given a fair trial. (Underlining provided for emphasis)

On appellant’s first issue, his counsel submits that the lower Court’s finding at lines 8 to 11 of page 482 of the record of appeal

that four witnesses, PW1, PW2, PW3 and PW4, out of the six who testified for the respondent, were eye witnesses is manifestly wrong. No where PW1’s extra judicial statements, Exhibits B to B3, it contended, has PW1 stated he was eye witness to the facts which constitute the offences of murder the appellant is convicted for. Again, it is neither PW1’s evidence in chief nor under cross examination that he witnessed the actual murder of the deceased by, among others, the appellant. Indeed, submits learned appellant counsel, PW1’s evidence under cross examination at page 157 of the record ends dramatically with the testimony that he never witnessed the commission by the appellant of the offences he stands convicted for.

PW2 too, learned counsel continues, never mentioned Exhibit C, his 1st extra statement made three days after the murder of the deceased, the name of the appellant as a participant in commission of the offences. It is only in subsequent statements to the police, Exhibits D and E and his evidence in chief during trial that PW2 mentioned the appellant’s name. It does not stand to reason that if indeed

PW2 was an eye witness not to mention the names of those who murdered his full blood brother timeously.PW2’s subsequent extra judicial statement and evidence before the Court that implicated the appellant, learned counsel submits, constitute an afterthought which a Court should not rely on to convict. Learned counsel relies on Onuoha v. The State (1989) 2 SC (Part ll) 115.

The evidence of PW3 and PW4 too, it further contended, remain incredible. Even Exhibits F and F1, PW3’s extra judicial Statement to the police, it is urged, the appellant’s name was never mentioned. It is only in Exhibit F2, given about five days after the incident and futher to his earlier two statements, that PW3 linked the appellant. PW3’s evidence in chief, learned counsel further submits, should equally be classified as an afterthought.

PW4’s extra judicial statement, learned appellant’s counsel contends, was recorded three days after the incident for which appellant was convicted. It incredible that PW4 who had seen his father killed could wait for that

long before reporting the episode to the police. And the content of Exhibit G, it is asserted, is violently vary from PW4’s evidence at trial. The lower Court’s affirmation of the trial Court’s judgment on the basis of the worthless evidence of the principal witnesses of the prosecution, urges learned appellant’s counsel, should be interfered with.

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PW2 and PW4, learned appellant’s counsel further contends, are blood relations of the deceased. Their evidence should be considered against the background of all the surrounding circumstances including their being so related. The lower Court’s failure to do so remains fatal. The contradictions in the evidence of these witnesses, learned counsel submits, cannot also be glossed over. Relying inter-alia on the decisions in Agbo v. The State (2006) ALL FWLR (Pt 309) 1380; Ariji v. The State (1976) 2 SC 79 and Ibe v. State (1997) 1 SCNJ 256, learned appellant counsel concludes that the totality of the evidence adduced by the respondent remain incapable of being believed by any reasonable Tribunal convicting the appellant. The lower Court’s reliance on same affirming the trial Court’s

conviction of the appellant is therefore, perverse.Learned counsel urges that the issue be resolved in appellant’s favour and his appeal allowed.

On appellant’s 2nd issue, he argues that the logical inference the two lower Courts should have drawn from the quality of the evidence led by the respondent, but failed to, is that appellant’s alibi had persisted and his conviction could not stand. Appellant had at his earliest opportunity in his statement to the police, Exhibit H, vehemently denied ever being at scene of crime at the times relevant to the occurrence of the offences. Failure of the prosecution to disprove appellant’s alibi meant that he never was a party to the commission of the offences. Learned counsel relies onOkosi v. The State (1998) 1 ACLR 281 at 304 and urges that this Court so holds.

In further argument under the 2nd issue, learned appellant’s counsel submits that by a letter in the investigators file which this Court, given the decision in John Agbo v. The State (2005) ALL FWLR (Pt. 309) 1380 at 1399, is entitled to refer to, notwithstanding that same is not evidence, the investigators had advised that appellant be

released as nothing had been found against him. The content of the letter and the evidence of PW5 that further investigation had not been conducted, submits learned counsel, strengthened appellant’s alibi that he never was at the scene. It remains the duty of the prosecution to fix the appellant at the scene of crime and failure to do same leaves a lingering doubt in the respondent’s case that should have benefitted the appellant. The lower Court’s judgment against the appellant inspite of the doubt, it is argued is perverse and should be set – aside. Learned counsel refers the Court to Stephen v. State (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt 46) 978, Onubogu v. State (1974) 9 SC 7 and Patrick Njovens & Ors v. The State (1973) 5 SC.

Under the 3rd issue, learned appellant’s counsel submits that appellant’s conviction as affirmed by the lower Court is based on the wrong inference that the appellant who had not been situated at the scene of crime had in furtherance of a common intention murdered the deceased. The evidence before the two Courts, on the common intention of the convicts to kill, learned counsel contends, is incapable of been believed given

surrounding circumstances.

Further relying on Nwankwoala v. State (2006) ALL FWLR (P. 339) 801, Adebayo v. The Republic (1967) NMLR, Akpabio v. State (1994) 7 NWLR learned counsel insists that the lower Court’s affirmation of the trial Court’s decision that failed to thoroughly consider appellant’s defence has compromised appellant’s right to fair hearing. The decisions of the two Courts should, even on that account alone, learned counsel concludes, be set -aside on the appeal being allowed.

In responding to appellant’s foregoing arguments under its respective issues, learned respondent counsel concedes that of the six witnesses the respondent relied to prove its case, two, PW5 and PW6, being police investigators, were not eye witnesses. Only the other four, PW1, PW2, PW3, PW4, it is submitted, who personally saw the appellant commit the offences and whose observations the two Courts justifiably relied upon convicting the offenders, were. The conviction of the appellant, submits learned counsel, is sustainable on the evidence of these two eye witnesses. By their account, the respondent, it is argued, has established sequence

of events commencing with the women demonstration that turned into a riot, the subsequent arrests of the deceased and their humiliation at the market square and finally the gruesome murder and burning of their dismembered bodies at the flat hill between Lokpanta in Abia State and Awgu Enugu State, by the culprits including the appellant. The trial judge, learned counsel submits, found the account as testified to by the four witnesses credible and accepted same convicting the appellant. The lower Court also disbelieved appellant’s case in affirming the trial Court’s conviction and sentence of the appellant. The fact that PW3 and PW4 are related to thedeceased, submits learned appellant counsel, does not render their evidence irrelevant, inadmissible or incredible. Relying on Clement Ogunze v. The State (1998) 58 LRCN 3512, Ishola v.State (1976) 9 and 10 SC 81 and Arehia & Anor v. The State (1982) 4 SC, learned respondents counsel urges that this Court discountenances appellant’s wrong arguments.

The two Courts, it is further contended, are right in their resort to the four witnesses whose testimonies are not violent conflict.The trial

Court that saw the witnesses testify found their evidence credible and acted on it. The lower Court, contends learned respondent’s counsel, not being in the same vantage position as the trial Court, is not entitled in law to substitute its own view of the evidence of the witnesses with that of the trial Court. Both Courts having acted lawfully, learned counsel submits, this Court lacks the jurisdiction to interfere with the judgment appealed against. The case of Onubogu v. The State (supra) which the appellant relies on, submits learned counsel, does not apply to the instant case. Instead, this Court should be guided by the decisions in Theophilus v. The State (1996) 1 SCNJ 75 at 91 and Christopher Arehia v. The State (1982) 4 SC 76 which allow Courts to ignore minor discrepancies in testimonies of witnesses.

Under the 2nd issue, learned respondent’s counsel submits that the alibi the appellant raises is vague and inchoate. Having failed to furnish the prosecution with particulars of the alibi, the appellant cannot turn around and blame the former from investigating the truth or otherwise of his claim. Most importantly, submits learned

counsel, the evidence of PW1, PW2, PW3 and PW4 has fixed the appellant at the market square as well as at the hill top where they eventually murdered their victims thereby making appellant’s alibi on the authority of Gachi v. The State (1965) NMLR 333 and Dogo v. The State (supra) untenable.

On the 3rd issue, learned respondent’s counsel asserts that the lower Court is right to have affirmed the trial Court’s judgment for the very same reason that disentitles the appellant to his alibi claim. The appellant, it is argued, by the testimonies of particularly PW2 and PW4, has been shown to be the brain not only behind the demonstration and riot that preceded but also the murder of the deceased as well. Not only did the appellant agree with others to kill the deceased persons evidence also revealed him congratulating the others after the act. Referring on Ahmed v. State (1998) 61 LRCN 4410, Ogu Ofor & Anor v. The Queen (1955) 5 WACA 14, State v. Oladimeji (2003) 109 LRCN and Akinkumi & Ors v. State 1 NSCC 305 at 314 learned respondents counsel submits that the conviction and sentence of the appellant based on their common intention as

affirmed by the lower Court cannot be faulted. He urges that appellant’s third issue be resolved against him.

On the 4th issue, learned respondent’s counsel refers to the decision in Deduwa v. Okorodudu 1976 NMLR 236 at 246 and contends that neither the trial Court nor the lower Court contravened the principles of natural justice in the course of hearing appellant’s case.In both Courts, it argued, the appellant was allowed to present his case and same considered. It remains the primary duty of the trial Court, argues learned counsel, to ascribe probative value to the evidence of witnesses and it is not the practice of the appellate Court to lightly interfere. In the case at hand where there is the concurrent findings of the two Courts below, the task the law assigns the appellant, which has remained unperformed, is to show that the findings of both Courts are perverse. Once the appellant is shown to have had the opportunity of presenting his case and he has done so, it is not for the two Courts to handle the matter only in the manner acceptable to appellant. Further relying on Arowolo v. Olowokere & 2 Ors (2012) 203 LRCN 58, Ogbechie v.

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Onochie (1998) NWLR (Pt 470) 370 and Edwin Ezeigbo v. The State (2012) 212 LRCN 54 at 65, learned counsel submits that the issue be resolved against the appellant and the appeal dismissed its entirety.

It appears to me the appellant’s 3rd issue for the determination of the appeal subsumes his 1st and 2nd issues. The lower Court, would indeed only be right in its affirmation of the trial Court’s judgment if the judgment is based on credible and sufficient evidence that established appellant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. And there cannot be such proof of appellant’s guilt if the alibi he raises persists.

Again, be it outrightly stressed that appellant’s case is not that the three deceased men, Sunday Felix Ude, Chief Cornelius Orjiogo and Johnson Onwuegbuchulam had not been murdered. His case, even in this Court, is that he was not at the scene of their murder and did not participate the unlawful acts for which both Courts below convicted and sentenced him. This Court, in determining the appeal within the purview of appellant’s 3rd issue, therefore, has to answer the all important question whether, from available

evidence, both Courts are right in their findings that appellant was not only at the scene of the offences but that he participated in the commission of the offences.

I disagree with learned appellant’s counsel that credible evidence had not been led by the respondent that situates the appellant at the scene of the offences and establishes the fact of his being one of the culprits.

Now, counsel on both sides have alluded to some legal principles in the course of their submissions. It is tidy, at this point, to state them correctly and see if the principles are applicable to the case at hand and, if they are, whether they have correctly been applied to the facts herein.

Firstly, learned appellant’s counsel has contended that the law has imposed a duty on both Courts below to reject the evidence of PW2 and PW4 because of their relationship with the deceased in respect of whose murder the appellant is convicted. It is further alleged that since the two had not, at their earliest opportunity mentioned the appellant in their extra judicial statements as being among those responsible for the murder of the deceased, their evidence remains suspect and

unreliable. Learned appellant’s counsel lastly contends that with the rejection of the evidence of these two who were the only eye witnesses to the commission of the offences, appellant’s alibi persists and cannot, not having been fixed at the scene of the crime, be convicted for the murder of the deceased.

Learned appellant’s counsel, it must be stated, has not been fully forth coming in either stating the principles or in applying them to the facts of the instant case. At Paragraph 4.40 of the appellant’s brief, learned counsel’s concession that the evidence of a relation, which PW2 and PW4 are, can be accepted if same is found cogent enough to rule out deliberate falsehood. That is indeed the true position of the law. The fact that these witnesses, PW2 and PW4 are blood relations of the deceased without more neither disqualifies them from being witnesses for the prosecution nor makes their evidence incredible. See Ishola v. The State (1976) 9 &10 SC 81 and Arehia & Anor v. The State 4 SC 21.

Secondly, the record of the instant appeal does not support the assertion of the appellant that even PW4 did not mention appellant’s name

at the earliest opportunity, in his extra judicial statement to the police, as being among those who murdered the deceased. In his first extra judicial statement recorded on 8th January, 2007 at page 27 of the record PW4 particularly states thus:-

“On the 5/01/2007 around 5 a.m in the Morning. The following persons come to our house at Umudi Lokpanta; their names are (i) Raphael Ude ‘m’ popularly known as Young (2) Ugochukwu Ude ‘m’ (3) Chukwudi Ude ‘m’, (4) Ignatius Emekwe ‘m’ (5) Godwin Egwem ‘m’ (6) Monday Oti ‘m’ (7) Vicent Iro, (8) Monddy (9) Victor Njoku (10) Ifeanyichukwu Nwafor alias Escape (11) Amandi Njoku (12) Amandi Okereke (13) David Amaedula (14) Ejike Umeham (15) John Iro (16) Kenneth Ude alias Ekpo-kpo (19) Okechukwu Akwo and others I cannot remembered, they break the doors of our house, and dragged my father out. They took him to one Nkwo Market Square, the name of my father is Orji Cornelius. I later went there, by then they have started beating him. Then Raphael Ude ordered them to hold me and also they started beating me also. This people were with guns and matchet on their hands. When they came to our house. After several beating,

Raphael Ude ordered them to moved mvself, my father and two other young men to where they will kill us. When reached the boundary between Abia State and Enugu State, then Raphael Ude ordered to stop then the same Raphael Ude used his matchet and cut off my fathers right hand. Ugochukwu Ude shot Sunday Ude, this Ugochukwu Ude and Sunday Ude are not from the same family, but their names are alike. Godwin Egwin naked himself and after doing this, he matchet Sunday Onwuegbuchulam at the neck. Later Raphael Ude his men to start matcheting everybody; and they went and started bringing motor tyres and fuel they will use in burning them. I then started running for my their (sic) life while I was running, Raphael himself fired three gun shots, but his bullet did not get me. They later went back to our house and set the house ablaze. After all this my mother by name Augustine Orji went to Umunneochi police station and reported the matter. (Underlining supplied for emphasis).

PW4’s evidence at trial spans pages 181-187 of the record of appeal. Therein, he repeated virtually all he said in the foregoing extra judicial statement. Please

read:-

“I know 1st accused. I also know 2nd accused; also 3rd accused; also 4th accused; also 5th accused; also 6th accused; also 7th accused; also 8th accused; also 9th accused; also 10th accused. I remember 4th & 5th Jan. 2007. In the morning of the 5th Jan. 2007 I saw the accused and others I do not know breaking my fathers door. They dragged my father out. All the accused carrying matchets and guns. My father was lying in room when they pulled him out from his bed. My father was shouting asking them what was wrong: I too was so asking them. They asked him to climb a motorcycle; he tried to struggle with them but when he saw he could not resist them he climbed the motorcycle and they drove him away. I then took my fathers motorcycle and ran after them. I got to a market square and saw where he was kept with two others who were tied by the legs. There is a school close to the market. My father is Corlineus Oji. The other two men were Felix Udeh and Sunday Onwuegbuchulam. When I got there they were beating my father and the other two men, when I got to the scene, the 1st accused asked those beating them to hold me. They held me

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and kept me with three men and were beating me as well. All the accused and others not here were among those beating us. They tore our clothes leaving us with pants only. They were beating us with knives and sticks. They later put us on motorcycles and took us away. 1st accused then asked the people to cut three men into pieces so that they would easily be burnt. They then descended on them, giving them matchet cuts. This time one Godwin then moved towards me with a matchet. I was afraid. He stabbed me with a knife and gave me a wound I jumped away into a pit. I was hearing them shout at me. They did not get me, I ran away by a track road. From the bush I escaped to our compound to tell my people what happened. At the time I got to our compound I found that our house had been burnt. I now started looking for my people. I later saw my sister, they told me my mother had gone to the police station to report. I and my sisters now went to meet our mother at the police station. There I told the police what happened. I made statement to the police.” (Underlining supplied for emphasis).

PW4 maintained his grounds under cross examination.

It is

true that PW2 and PW3 did not mention the appellant by his name their statements to the police as being one of those who murdered the deceased persons. However, PW2 told the Court that he did not know all the accused persons by their names, PW3, on the other hand, stated that it was the police, while recording his statement, that told him not to bother about the names of all the culprits. Certainly if PW2 did not previously know the appellant by name he would not be expected to give his name to the police. PW3’s explanation as to why he did not mention appellant’s name, too, should suffice. In any event sufficient evidence exists even after PW3’sevidence is discounted to sustain the guilt of the appellant see Adeoye v. C.O.P (1959) WNLR 100 at 102 and Onuoha v. State.

The trial Court after reviewing the evidence proffered by these witnesses, inter-alia, inferred at pages 307 – 308 of the record thus:-

“Thus there is evidence before the Court which was not controverted that the deceased persons were removed by the Youths from their homes and were killed. At least, there is no evidence that the deceased ever retuned a life to their homes.

The P.W.2 In his evidence to the police mentioned names of those he saw at the scene which do not include any of the accused. By Section 8 of the Criminal Code, when two or more persons form a common intention to prosecute an unlawful purpose, in conjunction with one another, and in the prosecution of such purpose, an offence is committed of such a nature that its commission was a probable consequence of the prosecution of such purpose, each of them is deemed to have committed the offence. Common intention may be inferred from circumstances disclosed in the evidence and need not be express agreement.The evidence in the instant case shows such a common intention…

In R v. Okoni and Ors (1938) 4 W.A.C.A. 79 a Chief who ordered two of his messengers to set fire to a dwelling house and one of the inmates was killed, the chief as well as the messengers, was convicted of manslaughter. Evidence shows that 1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons hold leadership position in the Lokpanta Youths Movement. P.W.2 in his testimony in Court stated that they were present at the scene where the deceased persons were killed and after the killing

congratulated the Youths for a job well done.”

The lower Court at page 476 of the record in affirming the foregoing held thus:-

“As it appears, the testimony of the Appellant is a complete denial of the knowledge of the existence of the Lokpanta Youths Movement. However evidence abound from the records of appeal that the women group came to the house of the Appellant to find out whether the constitution was signed and of their mission before they embarked on their demonstration which the youths joined and which tuned into riot that culminated into the burning of houses and the killing of the three deceased persons.The Learned trial Judge based on the evidence adduced before him found that there is evidence of a common intention between the perpetrators of the offence and the leadership of the Lokpanta Youths Movement who were clearly identified and mentioned in evidence.The testimonies of PW1, PW2, PW3 and PW4 clearly stated out on the role played by the Appellant. The Learned trial Judge was right in the circumstances to invoke the provisions of Sections 8 and 9 of the Criminal Code to deemed the Appellant as having killed the

deceased.”

Appellant’s duty is to show that the foregoing concurrent findings of the two Courts are perverse in the sense that they either did not draw from the evidence on record or that they are consequent upon wrong application of some principles of law and because of either lapse the findings have occasioned miscarriage of justice. See Mohammed v. Hussain (1998) 1 NWLR (Pt 534) 365. He woefully failed to.

Evidence certainly abound that places the appellant not only at the scene of crime but also establishes the fact of his participation in the murder of the deceased. It, therefore, no longer lies in his mouth to insist that he was never at the scene of the crime let alone to have been a party to same. See Onuchukwu v. State (1998) 4 NWLR (Pt 547) 576 and Odu v. State (2001) 5 NWLR (Pt 722) 668.

Finally, and this relates to appellant’s fourth issue, learned respondent’s counsel is right that the doctrine of fair hearing as provided for under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution does not in the least suggest that appellant’s case must willy-nilly be determined in his favour. All that the doctrine requires is for the appellant to be

given the opportunity to present his case before a decision one way or another is taken by the Court. Both Courts below have not only granted appellant that opportunity but have also considered the case he presented in arriving at their concurrent findings on his guilt. Appellant’s 4th issue is thus resolved against him.

Having resolved all the issues the appeal raises against the appellant his unmeritorious appeal is hereby accordingly dismissed.

The judgment of the lower Court affirming the conviction and sentence of the appellant for murder contrary to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code CAP 30 Vol. II Laws of the Eastern Nigeria as applicable to Abia State by the trial Court is hereby affirmed.

Appeal NO. SC.65/2013

The appellant herein was tried and convicted along with the appellant in Appeal No. SC. 64/2013 for the same offences. The trial Court relied on the same evidence in convicting the two. The appellant has appealed against the judgment of the lower Court affirming his conviction on the very grounds the appellant in Appeal No. 64/2013 did. He also distilled the same issues for the determination of his appeal as

did the appellant in No. SC. 64/2013 and proffered the same arguments thereon.

For the very reasons advanced while dismissing appeal No. SC. 64/2013, I also find no merit in Appeal No. SC. 65/2013. I equally dismiss the appeal and affirm the lower Courts Judgment.


SC.64/2013 & SC.65/2013

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