COMPETENCE OF A CHILD TO TESTIFY IN COURT

CASE TITLE: HARUNA v. KANO STATE (2020) LPELR-50869(CA)

JUDGMENT DATE: 10TH SEPTEMBER, 2020

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGMENT: HABEEB ADEWALE OLUMUYIWA ABIRU, J.C.A.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on the Offence of Rape.

FACTS

This appeal is against the judgment of the High Court of Kano State delivered in Charge No K/36C/2013 by Honorable Justice Aisha R. D. Mohammed on the 5th of May, 2014.

The Appellant was charged with rape under the provisions of Section 283 of the Penal Code of Kano State. The Appellant was alleged to have, on or about the 24th of August, 2012 at about 1600 hours, lured one Halima Ali Shuaibu, aged four and a half years, with sweets, pop-up lollipop, into his room and forcefully had sexual intercourse with her. The Appellant pleaded Not Guilty to the charge and the matter proceeded to trial. In the course of the trial, the Respondent called five witnesses and tendered one exhibit in proof of its case and the Appellant testified as the sole defence witness and he tendered two exhibits in his defence.

At the conclusion of trial and after the rendering of final written addresses by Counsel to the parties, the lower Court found the Appellant guilty as charged and sentenced him to fourteen years imprisonment and a fine of N50,000.00, with a directive that should the Appellant fail to pay the fine, he shall serve an additional term of four years imprisonment. The Appellant was dissatisfied with the judgment hence this appeal.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The appeal was determined on the following issues:

i. Whether the refusal of the trial Judge to adjourn for the Appellant to call his witnesses denied him a fair trial?

ii. Whether the learned trial Judge was right to have placed reliance on the evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW4 to convict the Appellant when the evidences were unreliable?

iii. Whether the learned trial Judge was right to have refused the defence of alibi put up by the Appellant and therefore convicted him?

DECISION/HELD

The appeal was dismissed. The judgment of the High Court of Kano State delivered by Honorable Justice Aisha R. D. Mohammed was affirmed along with the conviction and the sentence passed on the Appellant.

RATIOS:

  • EVIDENCE – COMPETENCE OF A CHILD: Whether the court must record the questions put to a child to determine his competence to testify
  • LEGAL PRACTITIONER – DUTY OF COUNSEL: Duty of counsel to properly cite the cases they seek to rely on in their briefs of arguments
  • PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – APPLICATION FOR ADJOURNMENT: Whether the grant or refusal of an application for adjournment is at the discretion of Court; Duty of a party seeking the discretion of Court to grant an adjournment
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF RAPE: Essential ingredients of the offence of rape
  • APPEAL – GROUND(S) OF APPEAL: Whether passage of judgment must be quoted once a ground of appeal alleges error of law and/or misdirection
child abusechild testimonyCourt of AppealLawPavilionLawPavilion Primerape

lawpavilion • October 12, 2020


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