WHETHER EVIDENCE ADDUCED DURING TRIAL-WITHIN-TRIAL CAN BE IMPORTED TO THE MAIN TRIAL
DICK ONUKU v. THE STATE (2020) LPELR-51004(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 28TH SEPTEMBER, 2020
PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
LEAD JUDGMENT: YARGATA BYENCHIT NIMPAR, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on the Offences of Kidnapping and Conspiracy.
This Appeal is against the decision of the Kogi State High Court sitting at Lokoja delivered on the 17th April, 2018 wherein the Court below convicted and sentenced the Appellant to life imprisonment for the offences of Kidnapping and conspiracy.
The Appellant was arraigned on a four count charge alleging the offences of conspiracy, Kidnapping and Robbery. One Makama Adamu (Pw3) was kidnapped on the 13th February, 2017 after closing from work by some armed men who drove him in his car. He was taken back into his compound/farm where he had gone to water his coconut trees. He was manhandled by his abductors, kept until ransom was paid on the 17th February, 2017. The abductors used the Appellant’s handset to negotiate for the ransom with his wife and PW2. They used a different SIM on the Appellant’s handset. HisHis phone was also used in the negotiations for ransom. Upon his release, he reported to the DSS in Ankpa and the Appellant was arrested in the course of the investigation and later arraigned.
The Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge and trial proceeded. At the end of the trial, the Court below convicted and sentenced the Appellant to life imprisonment for the offences of Kidnapping and Conspiracy.
Aggrieved by the decision of the Court, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION
The appeal was determined on the following issues:
i. Whether from the totality of evidence before the Court, the trial Court was right when it held in its Judgment that the prosecution proved the offences of criminal conspiracy and kidnapping against the Appellant.
ii. Whether the failure of the Respondent to conduct a cogent, competent and reliable identification parade does not occasion miscarriage of Justice against the Appellant.
iii. Whether the arresting Department of State Security (DSS) officials, who arrested the Appellant are not vital witness whose testimony would have influenced the decision of the trial Court either way.
In conclusion, the Court dismissed the appeal.
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF KIDNAPPING: Statutory provisions on the offence of kidnapping; Ingredients of the offence
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- OFFENCE OF CONSPIRACY: Principles guiding the punishment for the offence of conspiracy
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- IDENTIFICATION PARADE: When it will be necessary to conduct an identification parade
- EVIDENCE- BURDEN OF PROOF/STANDARD OF PROOF: Burden and standard of proof in criminal cases; ways of proving the commission of a crime/guilt of an accused person
- EVIDENCE- TRIAL WITHIN TRIAL: Whether evidence adduced during trial within trial can be imported to the main trial; how evidence given during trial within trial can be impeached
- 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- CALLING OF WITNESS(ES): Whether the prosecution is required to call a specific number of witnesses to secure a conviction
- EVIDENCE- CONTRADICTION IN EVIDENCE: Position of the law as regards contradictions in evidence
- EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether confession is the best form of evidence in a criminal trial