⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Adesina Kayode v. The State (2012) – CA
⦿ LITE HOLDING
A confessional statement is capable of holding an accused convicted.
⦿AREA OF LAW
Court of Appeal
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Stanley Shenko Alagoa, J.C.A
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Ikenna Okoh.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– J. K. Omotosho.
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
In the High Court of Justice Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State of Nigeria, the Appellant as 2nd accused along with two others were charged with the following offences –
STATEMENT OF OFFENCE
CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ARMED ROBBERY contrary to section 6(b) and punishable under section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Ad, (Cap R.11), Laws of the Federation 2004.
ARMED ROBERRY contrary to section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap R. 11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The case for the prosecution was that on the 7th May 2007 at about 9.30p.m. one Osiyemi Niyi, Managing Director of FAO constant petroleum at Irese, Ijebu ode and who in the course of trial testified as PW1 had closed for the day at the Filling station.
He took with him while driving away from the Filling station the sum of three hundred and fifty five thousand, one hundred and fifty naira which was the proceeds from the day’s sales. In his car with him, was a staff of his company, while on this journey, PW1 at some point saw a motorcycle with three men coming behind him. The Motorcycle overtook and blocked him on the road in front. The three men on the motorcycle came down, beat and injured him with a broken bottle and went away with the money he was carrying in the car as well as two mobile phones. His staff who was accompanying him in the car however managed to escape. A chase of PW1’s attackers by some sympathizers around proved abortive.
On return to the Filling Station, PW1’s brother by name Leke Osiyemi told PW1 that he saw the 1st accused person around the Filling station that day. The police arrested the 1st accused who upon arrest confessed to the crime and mentioned the name of the Appellant as having also taken part in the crime. The Appellant was arrested and also confessed to the crime. The Confession of the 1st accused also led to the arrest of yet another accused.
All three were arraigned, tried, convicted and sentenced to death by the court’s judgment delivered on the 23rd December 2009. It is against this judgment that the 2nd accused now as Appellant is appealing.
1. Whether the prosecution has proved conspiracy to commit Armed Robbery and Armed Robbery against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt to justify his conviction and sentence will suffice in the determination of this appeal?
⦿ RESOLUTION OF ISSUE(S)
1. ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. In this instance Exhibit “G” was not only possible but was actually voluntarily made by the Appellant. The evidence of PC Solomon at the trial within trial at pages 56 and 57 of the Record of Appeal that he never beat the Appellant to extract a confession from him was not demolished by cross-examination, neither was the evidence of PC Solomon that the Appellant voluntarily handed over to him (PC Solomon) a Nokia handset belonging to PW1 which he (the Appellant) stole during the armed attack on PW1 demolished during cross-examination. Is Exhibit “G” consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and which have been proved? The totality of the Prosecution’s case put forward so far is eloquent testimony to the fact that the Appellant’s confessional statement is consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and proved.
ii. It will be unduly repetitions to restate the evidence of PW1 and PW2 which point to the participation in the armed robbery attack on PW1 by the Appellant in concert or agreement with others. Their evidence was not demolished by cross-examination. The Confessional statement of the Appellant – Exhibit “G” is also in harmony with the confessional statement of Okunade Kolawole (1st accused) a former employee of PW1 who was in fact the mastermind of the robbery attack. It was through his confessional statement Exhibit “C” that the Appellant was arrested. I therefore find the two count charge of Conspiracy to commit Armed Robbery and Armed Robbery proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt and I find no reason to disturb the finding of the trial Judge on these counts.
⦿ ENDING NOTE BY LEAD JUSTICE – Per
Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act Cap R.11, Laws of the Federation of ‘Nigeria 2004;
Section 135 (1) & (2) of the Evidence Act 2011.
⦿ SOME PROVISION(S)
⦿ RELEVANT CASE(S)
NWOSU v. STATE (1998) 8 NWLR (PART 562) 433 at 444 thus: “In all criminal trials, the burden of proof is always on the prosecution in proving beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. Failure to do so will automatically lead to the discharge of the accused”.
⦿ CASE(S) RELATED
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
In its simplest connotation Armed Robbery means the commission of a Robbery with Arms. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
I think it is safe to say that any object in the hands of a robber which creates in the mind of the victim a reasonable apprehension that were it used on his person would cause death or harm must certainly fall under “arms” by the provision of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act 2004. The notion somewhat widespread that wood, stick, stone or bottle do not constitute “arms” under the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions Act 2004) must therefore be discarded. The actual use of the weapon or object on the person of the victim while dispossessing him is not actually necessary. The alleged robber need not even say to his victim, “Give me so and so or I am going to harm you,” neither should the victim afterwards be heard to say;” I thought that if I did not part with so and so, he (the robber) would kill or harm me”. The test therefore of what constitutes “arms’ under the Act cannot merely be subjective. The test therefore must be what an average, normal, right thinking person placed in the same circumstances as the victim would have been expected to think. The purport is that ordinary common place objects which under normal circumstances would not be regarded as offensive such as stone, sticks and bottles would be regarded under the Act as offensive weapons when used to dispossess persons of their property. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
Unfortunately this definition under the Act of what constitutes “Arms” or “Other offensive weapon” is not fully appreciated by most young people who sometimes take the law into their hands, thinking that were they apprehended, they would probably get off with a light sentence for assault. Such persons are usually very surprised and completely flabbergasted when seemingly simple crimes turn out to be armed robbery for which they are charged, convicted and sentenced to death. The reality of the situation does not quite dawn on them that they have to face the hangman’s noose or the very hot bullets of a firing squad. The need for some form of education and enlightenment of the youth on the dangers of not keeping straight cannot at this time be over-emphasised. This observation is however made without prejudice to the appeal now being considered. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
It has always been and is still the law that an accused person can be convicted on his confession alone provided such a confession is positive and direct’ such a confession need not be corroborated once the court is satisfied as to its truth. See AKPA v. STATE (2008) 14 NWLR (PART 1106) 72. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
A confessional statement is and certainly must be the most compelling evidence that accused person committed the crime for which he faces prosecution. Taken in that light the evidence of eyewitnesses to the crime take second place to that of a confession freely given by the accused person. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
As a further safeguard for ensuring that a confessional statement was indeed made voluntarily, the Courts have over time fashioned out six tests which are as follows – 1. Is there anything outside the confessional statement to show that it is true? 2. Is it corroborated? 3. Are the relevant statements made in it of facts as can be tested? 4. Was the Prisoner one who had the opportunity of committing the crime? 5. Is his confession Possible? 6. Is it consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and Proved? – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
In the present case now on appeal all the facts and evidence point to the conclusion that Exhibit “G” was voluntarily made by the Appellant and I think I should here commend PC Solomon for his deft handling of the investigation resulting in the arrest and prosecution of the Appellant. Through tact and diplomacy he was able to get the Appellant to make a confession which ordinarily would not have been possible. Cross-examination of PC Solomon does not show that he applied, any force or threat on the Appellant to obtain Exhibit “G”. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
Definitely where there are vital witnesses whose evidence will settle the matter once and for all, the prosecution ought to and should call them to give evidence and failure to do so may be fatal to the prosecution’s case but it must be reiterated that such witnesses must be considered vital witnesses. PW1’s attendant was not such a vital witness. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)
Conspiracy is simply the meeting of minds of the conspirators. It consists of the intention of two or more persons to do an unlawful act or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. Circumstantial evidence is enough to ground a conviction for the offence of conspiracy. Once there are reasons or grounds to believe that there has been a conspiracy to commit a crime, whatever is done or said by anyone of the conspirators in furtherance of the common intention of the other conspirators will be regarded as sufficient evidence against the other conspirators. In the present case now on appeal therefore all that the prosecution need prove is that there was an agreement or an intent by the Appellant with other persons (in this case 1st & 3rd accused persons) to commit the offence of armed robbery against PW1. – Alagoa, J.C.A. Kayode v. State (2012)