WHEN THE DEFENCE OF ALIBI WILL NOT AVAIL AN ACCUSED PERSON

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CASE TITLE:  ABUBAKAR v. STATE (2019) LPELR-47046(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 26TH MARCH, 2019

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGMENT: SAIDU TANKO HUSSAINI, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on the Offence of Culpable Homicide Punishable with death.

FACTS

This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Adamawa State.

The appellant, Suleiman Abubakar was charged on the information before the High Court of Justice of Adamawa State for Culpable Homicide punishable with death under S. 221(b) of the Penal Code Law Cap. 98 Laws of Adamawa State 1997.

It was alleged that the appellant caused the death of one Sunday Belmond by stabbing him with a knife on his throat with the knowledge that death would be the probable consequence of his act. The offence was said to have taken place on or about the 29th day of March 2015 at about 19:30 hours in Wuro Jebbe ward, Yola South LGA of Adamawa State, within Yola Judicial Division. When the charge was read and explained, the appellant as the accused person before the High Court entered a plea of “not guilty”, hence trial or hearing commenced thereafter at that same Court. The Prosecution called evidence of 5 (Five) witnesses and tendered 3 (three) Exhibits marked A, B and C and closed her case thereafter. The appellant opened his defence case. He testified for himself as the only witness for the defence. He closed his case thereafter.

At the close of evidence of witnesses and counsel’s addresses the High Court, in a considered Judgment delivered on the 12th Day of April 2018, found against the appellant guilty, convicted and sentenced him to death by hanging. This judgment and order did not go down well with the convict hence he appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

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

(i)Was the trial Court not wrong when it found that the appellant did not raise timeously his defence of alibi, and thereby refused and failed to consider the appellant’s alibi, even though same was neither investigated nor disproved by the Respondent?

(ii)Was the trial Court correct when it held that the Respondent proved against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt the offence of Culpable Homicide Punishable with death, convicted and sentenced the appellant to death?

DECISION/HELD

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

RATIOS:

  • COURT- DUTY OF COURT: Duty of Court to consider all defences pleaded by a party.
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- DEFENCE/PLEA OF ALIBI: Duty on an accused person to raise the defence of alibi timeously; effect of failure.
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE PUNISHABLE WITH DEATH: What constitute the offence of culpable homicide punishable with death; Ingredients that must be proved to establish same.
  • EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Position of the law where a confessional statement is retracted and where same is objected to on the ground that same was not voluntarily made.
  • EVIDENCE- MEDICAL EVIDENCE: Whether medical evidence is always essential to prove the cause of death of the deceased.
Court of AppealLawPavilion Prime

lawpavilion • April 16, 2019


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