CASE TITLE: STATE v. ANOCHIE (2023) LPELR-60964(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: JULY 25, 2023
PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE (NO CASE SUBMISSION)
LEAD JUDGMENT: AMINA AUDI WAMBAI, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
INTRODUCTION: This appeal borders a No-Case Submission made by an accused person and upheld by the trial Court.
FACTS: This appeal arose from the ruling of Hon. Justice G.B Briki-Okolosi in amended Charge No. HCK/17C/2008 delivered on the 14th November 2011 which upheld a no-case submission on behalf of the Respondent and first accused, Augustine Emeka Ebuzome, and discharged and acquitted them of the six-count charge of the offenses of conspiracy to murder, murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy to commit felony (arson), and murder punishable under Sections 324, 319 (1), 320, 516, 443, and 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 48, Vol. II, Laws of the Defunct Bendel State 1976 as applicable to Delta State.
Both the respondent and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge. The matter proceeded to trial, with the prosecution (Appellant) calling six (6) witnesses and tendering some exhibits. At the close of the prosecution’s case, learned counsel for the respondent and counsel to the co-accused counsel each made a no-case submission pursuant to Section 286 of the Criminal Procedure Law, Cap. C Volume I Laws of Delta State, that the prosecution did not make out a prima facie case to warrant calling on the accused persons to enter their defense.
It is the discharge and acquittal of the respondent and the co-accused on the basis of the no-case submission that gave rise to this appeal.
ISSUE(S) FOR DETERMINATION:
The appeal was determined on:
“Whether the lower Court was rightly guided by the established principles of law when it upheld the “no case submission” made on behalf of the Appellant.”
The appeal was allowed. The decision of the trial Court upholding the no-case submission and discharging and acquitting the Respondent was set aside.
In consequence thereof, the matter was remitted to the Hon. Chief Judge of Delta State for reassignment to another Judge other than Hon. Justice G.B. Briki Okolosi for the Respondent to enter his defense.
• CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – NO CASE SUBMISSION – Principles guiding a no-case submission
• CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – NO CASE SUBMISSION – Essence/purpose of a no-case submission
• CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – NO CASE SUBMISSION – Whether the Court can embark on evaluation of evidence and/or ascribe probative value to it at the stage of no-case submission
• EVIDENCE – PRIMA FACIE CASE – Position of the law on a prima facie case
• CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – NO CASE SUBMISSION – Circumstances in which a no-case submission can be made and upheld
• CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – NO-CASE SUBMISSION – What is required of the Court when considering a no-case submission?