IS POSSESSION OF A STOLEN ITEM PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT THE PERSON IN POSSESSION OF THE ITEM PARTICIPATED IN THE ROBBERY?

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CASE TITLE: ONAKPORO v. STATE (2019) LPELR-48795(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 1ST NOVEMBER, 2019

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGE: MOORE ASEIMO ABRAHAM ADUMEIN, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.

FACTS

This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court sitting in Delta State.

The appellant was tried and convicted of the offences of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery on the 1st of November, 2011 by the High Court in Charge No. EHC/12C/2010. He was sentenced to death by hanging.

Being dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:

  1. Whether the appellant was properly identified by the prosecution’s witnesses?
  2. Whether the appellant’s defence of alibi was properly considered by the trial Court before sentencing him to death?
  3. Whether the essential ingredients of the offence of conspiracy and armed robbery have been established by the prosecution?
  4. Was the trial Court right when it admitted in evidence the alleged confessional statement as Exhibit B1 without conducting a trial within trial and proceeded to rely on same in reaching a verdict of guilt.

DECISION/HELD

On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.

RATIOS:

  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- DEFENCE/PLEA OF ALIBI: Position of the law on the defence of alibi
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF ROBBERY: Whether possession of the stolen item is prima facie evidence that a person in such possession participated in the robbery
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF ARMED ROBBERY: Ingredients that must exist to prove the offence of armed robbery
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- GUILT OF AN ACCUSED PERSON: How to establish/prove the guilt of an accused person
  • EVIDENCE- BURDEN OF PROOF/ONUS OF PROOF: Burden on a defendant/accused person to prove his defence to a criminal allegation
  • EVIDENCE- IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE: Instance where formal identification of an accused person will not be necessary
  • EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: The position of the law on a retracted statement
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lawpavilion • December 3, 2019


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