CASE SUMMARY OF:
Bayo Adelumola v. The State (1988) - SC
- Number of witnesses;
(1988) NWLR (Pt.73) 683;
LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
- Mr. A.O. Adefala.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
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FACT (as relating to the issues)
The Appellant, as defendant in the trial court, was charged for murder and convicted. His appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.
1. Did the Appellant throw a burning slave at Iyabo who then caught fire and later died of shock due to burning as the prosecution contends?
HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
1. ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. It seems to me that the expression "an event which occurs by accident" used in Section 24 of Cap. 42 of 1958 describes an event totally unexpected by the doer of the act and also not reasonably to be expected by any ordinary person, the reasonable man of the law. In other words, the test is both subjective from the stand-point of the doer of the act, as well as objective from the stand-point of the ordinary man of common prudence. The event should to qualify as accidental, be a surprise both to the doer of the act that it, and a surprising thing to all and sundry. An event is thus accidental it is neither subjectively intended nor objectively foreseeable by the ordinary man of reasonable prudence. Our law is that a man is presumed to intend the natural consequences of his acts. Now one consequence natural consequence of throwing a burning stove at another will be to set that other ablaze. This consequence is not so improbable that a person of ordinary prudence ought not under the surrounding circumstances of this case to have liken reasonable precautions against it. Fire burns and throwing fire at somebody implies the possibility of his being burnt. Here the deceased was burnt and she died as a direct result of her burns. The two Courts below were right in dismissing the defence of accident.
S. 24 Criminal Code;
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On the other issue of how many witnesses the prosecution need call to succeed, the answer, from all the cases decided by our Courts, is that one solitary witness is enough, if his/her evidence proves the essential issue in dispute, and if he/she is believed. - Oputa, JSC. Bayo v. State (1988)
Truth is not discovered by majority vote, nor by counting hands or heads. Except in cases where corroboration is required either by law or age old practice, one witness's evidence if believed (as the evidence of P.W.1 was believed here) can establish even a murder case. The attack on the judgment appealed against from this flank fails. - Oputa, JSC. Bayo v. State (1988)
The Brief filed on behalf of the Appellant, barely three pages, was sketchy, half hearted and left a lot to be desired. A Brief in a murder case, (a case having very serious consequences for the Appellant) deserves to be more purposeful, more substantial and more comprehensive, if a Brief has to be filed at all. But if there is nothing to appeal against, learned counsel for the Appellant, as an officer of the Court, owes the Court a duty to say so. - Oputa, JSC. Bayo v. State (1988)
And any trial Court has the liberty and the privilege to believe one side and disbelieve the other. That belief can only be questioned on appeal if it is obviously against the logical drift of the evidence considered as a whole or against the impact of the wave of probabilities disclosed by the evidence. For example, we all know that 2 plus 2 make 4. If a witness testifies that 2 plus 2 make 5 and he is believed, his arithmetic does not cease to be wrong because the trial Court erroneously believed him. - Oputa, JSC. Bayo v. State (1988)
Firstly no event happens in a vacuum without being caused or causing other facts or influencing them. These other facts the antecedent facts and the subsequent events, form the surrounding circumstances of each case. The evidence of a witness to command and commend belief must therefore accord with the surrounding circumstances of the case as a whole. - Oputa, JSC. Bayo v. State (1988)
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