CAN THE IDENTIFICATION OF AN ACCUSED PERSON TO ONESELF WITHOUT DISCLOSING THE FACT TO ANOTHER PROPERLY SUSTAIN A CONVICTION?

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CASE TITLE: IDOKO v. STATE (2019) LPELR-48957(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 9TH DECEMBER, 2019

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGE: AYOBODE OLUJIMI LOKULO-SODIPE, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on criminal law and procedure.

FACTS

This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Imo State, Owerri, which was delivered by Justice P.O. Nnadi (now Chief Judge).

The Appellant and two others were charged with the offence of armed robbery, contrary to Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, 1990. According to the respondent, the Appellant and the two other accused persons, while armed with a locally made pistol, robbed one Justin Onuoha, the driver of a Mitsubishi Bus L 300 with Registration No. XC 244 NNE of the sum of N4,170.00, and the other passengers in the bus namely – Chinedu Njoku of the sum of N130,000.00, Augustine Bakwe of the sum of N25,000.00 and Emenike Paschal of the sum of N120,000.00 on 24/7/2003, at Ihitte Junction NgorOkpala LGA.

Upon their arraignment, the Appellant and the other two accused persons each pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them. At the close of the case for the prosecution, the accused persons (including the Appellant), made a no-case submission, which was overruled and dismissed. After a full-fledged trial, the Court found the Appellant guilty of the offence of armed robbery and duly sentenced him to death. The 2nd and 3rd accused persons were acquitted and discharged of the offence of armed robbery, but each of them was found guilty of the offence of stealing and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment without the option of fine.

Aggrieved, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court adopted the lone issue formulated by the Respondent for the determination of the appeal thus:

“Whether having regard to the quality of evidence adduced in this case, the conviction of the appellant was justified.”

DECISION/HELD

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal. Appellant was discharged and acquitted.

RATIOS:

  • CASE LAW- CITING OF CASE: What determines whether a principle of law has been properly applied
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF ARMED ROBBERY: Ingredients of the offence of armed robbery; the standard of proof required of the prosecution
  • EVIDENCE- EVIDENCE OF WITNESS: Position of the law as regards the use to which the extra-judicial statement(s) vis-a-vis oral evidence of witness (es) can be put; when will contradiction in the evidence of prosecution witness (es) be fatal to the case of the prosecution
  • EVIDENCE- HEARSAY EVIDENCE: When evidence of an investigating police officer will/will not amount to hearsay
  • EVIDENCE- IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE: Whether the identification of an accused person to oneself without disclosing the fact of such identification to another can properly sustain a conviction.
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lawpavilion • January 22, 2020


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