Sikiru Amusa V. The State (1984) LLJR-SC

Sikiru Amusa V. The State (1984)

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OBASEKI, J.S.C. (Presiding): This is a murder appeal. The Court of Appeal heard the appeal, dealt with it on its merits in the lead judgment of Akanbi, JCA. and instead of dismissing it, struck out the appeal.

The Justices made the order striking out the appeal because there was no notice of appeal proved to have been filed. There was a memorandum of grounds of appeal filed referring to the Notice of Appeal dated 30/7/79 but out of abundance of caution the Court of Appeal dealt with all the grounds of appeal and dismissed the grounds of appeal. This appeal is **-against the dismissal of the grounds of appeal.

I have read and studied the record of proceedings. The facts found by the learned trial judge are not in dispute. The appellant suspected that his wife, the deceased, was having an affair with a soldier co-tenant. Despite the fact that the matter was settled, his mind was still badly affected by the suspicion. Hence, when his wife went to her parents’ place and he traced her there and could not find her, his suspicion was rekindled and when she returned from where she went, he, in her father’s house, decided to have private discussion with her.

The private discussion was the production of a machet and her slaughter. On his arrest, he made confessional statement exhibit A. He tried to say that the machet was first a piece of paper, then a stick and finally realised it was a machet. The learned trial judge on the facts rightly, in my view, convicted the appellant and the Court of Appeal rightly dismissed the appeal to it. The learned trial judge in his judgment said:

“The two statements made by the accused person are confessional and out side the statements, there is abundance of evidence which points to nothing else but to the guilt of the accused and I am convinced beyond doubt that it was the accused who caused the death of the deceased”.

I too will dismiss and I hereby dismiss the appeal. The conviction and sentence passed by the High Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeal are hereby affirmed.

ANIAGOLU, J.S.C.: Although the issue whether the Court of Appeal was right in striking out this appeal when they heard the appeal on its merits was rightly raised by Mr. Shola Rhodes, I consider the matter rather academic. The fact was that it was a case of murder in which the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal against his conviction.

The Court of Appeal, rightly, brushing aside all technicalities, heard the appeal on the merits and found that there was no merit in the appeal. I think they were right to have heard the appeal on the merits, the case being one involving the appellant’s life. Since they, rightly in my view, found that there was no merit in the appeal they ought to have dismissed it. There is no appeal before us on that finding nor has Mr. Shola Rhodes appealed against the order of the Court of Appeal striking out the appeal. Being a murder case, I would rather treat the matter as having properly been dealt with by the Court of Appeal on its merits, the appellant having evinced an intention to appeal, and did appeal, to the Court of Appeal. At page 46 of the record the appellant stated in his memorandum of his grounds of appeal to the Registrar, signed by a legal practitioner, that

“This is my memorandum of the grounds of appeal in connection with my notice of appeal dated 30/7/79”.

Although the notice of appeal was not exhibited and did not form part of the record of proceedings, I am inclined to assume that there was a notice of appeal, even if it was not in a proper form. The Court of Appeal in hearing the appeal on the merits must also have gone on that assumption.

On the facts, the appellant macheted his wife to death on suspicion that she was committing adultery with a soldier co-tenant in their premises. The injuries were particularly brutal as found by the doctor:

(i) deep laceration at the right forehead about 4 inches long;

(ii) another deep laceration 6 inches in length at the right side of the head;

(iii) 4 inches laceration at the middle of the head;

(iv) 4 inches laceration on the left lower arm; and

(v) a right hip joint laceration of about sixty inches in length.

The doctor said the injuries could have been caused by a sharp instrument. There was no doubt that the appellant intended to kill his wife and did kill her. His conviction for murder was more than merited. I hereby confirm it thus dismissing his appeal. The sentence of death passed on him is hereby affirmed.

KAZEEM J.S.C.: The appellant suspected that his wife was having illicit affairs with a soldier living in the same house. Because of that suspicion, the wife asked to be allowed to live elsewhere. Eventually, she went and lived with her father. The appellant still displeased went after her in the father’s house and killed her with the father’s machet. The appellant did not deny the crime, but he said that he thought he had struck the wife with a ruler which had turned into a machet. I think this is a calculated and premeditated murder which could not be justified on any ground. I am satisfied that the appellant was rightly convicted at the trial court by Sogbetun J. He thereafter appealed to the Court of Appeal. In so far as the Court of Appeal considered the appeal before it on the merit, even though the appeal was not properly headed and therefore could be said to be irregular on the decision of Adis Ababa’s case, the appeal should have in my view been dismissed and not struck out as ordered by that court: See Nofiu Surakatu’s case decided by this Court. Here, on further appeal, both counsel have nothing to urge in favour of the appellant which I think is the correct view to take on this gruesome murder.

I will therefore dismiss the appeal which is hereby dismissed and affirm the conviction of murder and death sentence.

COKER, J.S.C.: There was ample evidence that the appellant killed his wife without any lawful justification. There was eye witness to the stabbing which resulted in her death. The appellant in his confessional statement to the police and in his evidence before the court confessed that he macheted her resulting in her death. The trial judge found that she died as a result of excessive bleeding from the wounds. All possible defences opened to the appellant were considered by the trial judge and found they did not avail him. I agree with both counsel that there is nothing which could be urged in his favour. I will therefore dismiss the appeal and affirm the conviction and sentence.

KAWU, J.S.C.: I have carefully perused the record of the appeal and I am satisfied the appeal is devoid of merit. In my view, the conviction of the appellant was amply supported by the evidence. The appeal is accordingly dismissed and the conviction of the appellant and the sentence passed on him are hereby affirmed.

Appeal dismissed.


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