THE LAW ON CHARACTER EVIDENCE

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CASE TITLE: MAKANJUOLA v. STATE (2021) LPELR-54998(SC)

JUDGMENT DATE: 4TH JUNE, 2021

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

LEAD JUDGMENT: IBRAHIM MOHAMMED MUSA SAULAWA, J.S.C.

SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:

INTRODUCTION

This appeal borders on the Offences of Conspiracy, Armed Robbery and Illegal Possession of Firearms.

FACTS

This appeal is against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division delivered on the 18th day of May 2018 which affirmed the decision of the High Court of Kwara State delivered on the 30th of September, 2016 per Folayan J.

The Appellant together with three other persons at about 11.30 pm at Awolowo Road, Tanke Junction, Ilorin, Kwara State flagged down their victim, one Kamaldeen Shittu with a torchlight. At the material time, the said Kamaldeen Shittu was driving a Kia Rio with registration number FFA 626 AA. Thinking that he was coming across policemen on duty Kamaldeen stopped the vehicle. As soon as he stopped the vehicle, one of the Defendants pointed a gun on his head and the other slapped him. They requested for his car key which he surrendered to them at gunpoint. The complainant was sitting in the middle of the road when some policemen on patrol saw him and enquired from him why he was on the road sitting at that time of the night. He told them the story of how his car was snatched from him by the gang of robbers. The policemen sent a radio message to their office and other officers on patrol were informed. Barely 45 minutes after the incident, some officers on patrol duty saw a Kia Rio at the Sawmill Garage parked with four men inside the vehicle. They accosted them and in the course of which one of them pulled a trigger but he was shot by one of the officers. The policemen arrested all of them and they were charged to the Court. The trial Court delivered a judgment that convicted and sentenced the appellant to death for the offences of conspiracy and armed robbery The appellant was also convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for illegal possession of firearms under Section 3(1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act.

Being dissatisfied with the decision of the trial Court, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal which affirmed the decision of the trial Court.

Being dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the appellant further appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION

The Court determined the appeal based on the following issues for determination:

(1) Whether the Court of Appeal rightly affirmed the conviction of the Appellant in view of the admission of the evidence tending to show the bad character of the Appellant at the trial.

(2) Was the Court of Appeal right when it affirmed the holding of the trial Court that the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy and armed robbery beyond reasonable doubt having regard to the variance on the date and the venue of the offence as contained in the particulars of the offence and the date and venue proved at the trial.

(3) Whether the Court of Appeal properly affirmed the conviction and sentence of the Appellant for the offence of illegal possession of Firearm under Section 3 (1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special provision Act) 2004 when the prosecution did not prove that the possession of the gun, exhibit 2, allegedly found on the Appellant is prohibited under the provisions of Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Firearms Act Cap 28 Laws of the Federation 2004.

(4) Whether the Court of Appeal understood and considered the complaint raised in issue 1 before it and if not whether the non-consideration of the issue occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

DECISION/HELD

The appeal was unanimously dismissed.

RATIOS:

  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF CONSPIRACY: Ingredients the prosecution must prove to succeed in a charge of conspiracy
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF ARMED ROBBERY: Whether a Dane gun/locally made gun is a firearm under the law
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION: Meaning and nature of firearms
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – CHARGE(S): Instance where a disparity in dates and venue of the commission of the alleged offence contained in the particulars of the offence and the date and venue proved at the trial will be held not to be fatal

EVIDENCE – CHARACTER EVIDENCE: Position of the law on character evidence

armed robberycharacter evidenceconspiracyfirearms. ammunition

lawpavilion • July 23, 2021


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