Shefiu Williams v. The State (1977) LLJR-SC

Shefiu Williams v. The State (1977)

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The appellant was convicted for murder at a jury trial in the Lagos High Court.  By leave of court the original grounds of appeal filed were withdrawn and fresh grounds (3) were substituted and argued.

The facts of the case were that the deceased Adio Braimoh died as a result of the stab wound inflicted on him by the appellant. In his statement to the Police, the appellant stated that the stab wound was inflicted accidentally.  In his oral evidence for defence he stated that he inflicted the stab wounds in self-defence when he was being attacked by deceased and several other persons.

The learned trial judge in a very meticulous summing-up referred to the case which the prosecution made out, that the accused deliberately entered the premises where the deceased was living and stabbed him.  There was no question of any accidental stabbing or acting in self-defence or provocation.  The jury returned a verdict of ‘Guilty’ and the appellant was sentenced to death.
On appeal before us, it was urged that the learned trial judge ought to have directed the jury that if they accepted the statement which the appellant made to the Police then it was open to them to return a verdict of accidental death.  On the second and third grounds the complaint was that the learned trial judge did not direct the jury that the onus is on the Prosecution to disprove provocation and self-defence.

The learned trial judge in his summing-up had quite rightly, in our view, directed the jury on the case which the Prosecution had made out which disproved possibility of either accidental death or provocation or self-defence.  In spite of this the learned trial judge still felt that the jury should consider the defences of the appellant on the statement made to the Police and the oral evidence given in court, if they are satisfied on any of them.

We have no doubt that the learned trial judge had directed the jury quite rightly and we see no reason to disturb the verdict.

At the hearing of the appeal we did not consider it necessary to call on learned counsel for the respondent.  The appeal was dismissed for the reasons which we have now given.

Other Citation: (1977) LCN/1945(SC)

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