WHAT IS THE PRESUMPTION OF THE LAW WHERE A STOLEN PROPERTY IS FOUND IN POSSESSION OF A PERSON IMMEDIATELY AFTER A THEFT?

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CASE TITLE: ALAYANDE v. STATE (2019) LPELR-47375(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 3RD MAY, 2019

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGMENT: JIMI OLUKAYODE BADA, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.

FACTS

This appeal is an appeal against the Judgment of the High Court of Justice, Ota Judicial Division in Ogun State in charge NO: HCT/26R/2013 BETWEEN THE STATE VS. AZEEZ AMAO ALAYANDE delivered on the 14th day of December 2017 wherein the Appellant was sentenced to death.

On 2/11/2017, PW1 and his wife were driving a Sienna bus along Ilogbo Road, Ota, Ogun State when they heard a gunshot and a motorcycle with three (3) passengers who blocked them. One of the men on the motorcycle brought out a gun and fired into the air and the other two forcefully entered into PW1’s vehicle. The Appellant who was armed with a gun took over the wheels while the other robber ordered PW1 and his wife to go to the backseat and that PW1 should lie on his wife. The Appellant robbed PW1 of his wristwatch, money and phones while his accomplice robbed his wife of her phone too while driving them to an unknown destination. The Appellant then gave his gun to his accomplice and ordered him to kill PW1 who begged for his life. In the course of driving, the car entered into a ditch which destabilized his accomplice and his gun went off in the car and the accomplice known as “Papa” suddenly fell on PW1 who realized that “Papa” must have accidentally shot himself when the car entered the ditch. PW1 immediately picked up the two guns i.e. “Papa’s” own and the one given to “Papa” by the Appellant and used one of them to hit the Appellant on the head and he began to bleed. The Appellant then jumped out of the car while it was still in motion. PW1 managed to gain control of the vehicle and brought it to a halt. A few days later after the robbery incident, the Appellant was arrested in his home and two of PW1’s phones were found on him.

​In his own testimony, the Appellant vehemently denied robbing the PW1 or any person of his car. He gave evidence as to how he got an invitation to the Landlord’s Association meeting on the day he was arrested. He stated that it was on his way to the said meeting where he heard his Landlord saying: “Mr Kehinde, this is the man that robbed you of your car, handle him well or else he can run away.” It was after this that the neighbours started beating him, accusing him of robbing the PW1 of his car and he was subsequently taken to Police Station.

The Appellant was arraigned on a two-count charge of Conspiracy to commit Armed Robbery and Armed Robbery contrary to Section 6(b) and 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap R II Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. At the conclusion of the trial, the learned trial Judge in his Judgment delivered on the 14th day of December 2017 found the Appellant guilty and sentenced him to death.

Dissatisfied with the Judgment of the High Court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court of Appeal determined the appeal based on the issues formulated by the Respondent which are as follows:1. Whether from the totality of the evidence adduced at the trial, the Prosecution has proved the charges against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt.2. Whether the learned trial Judge was right in relying on the retracted Confessional  Statement of the Appellant in convicting him.

  1. Whether the trial Court was right in convicting the Appellant for the offence of Armed Robbery when the weapons used and items stolen were not tendered.

DECISION/HELD

In conclusion, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

RATIOS:

  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF ARMED ROBBERY: Ingredients of the offence of armed robbery; the standard of proof required of the prosecution
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF CONSPIRACY: Meaning of conspiracy; ingredients the prosecution must prove to establish the offence of conspiracy
  • EVIDENCE- DOCTRINE OF RECENT POSSESSION: The presumption of the law where stolen property is found in possession of a person immediately after a theft
  • EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether a confessional statement becomes inadmissible because an accused person retracted or denied making it.
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lawpavilion • May 28, 2019


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