CASE SUMMARY OF:
Bello Okashetu v. The State (2016) - SC
by NSA PaulPipAr
AREA OF LAW
- Criminal Law
- Illegal possession of firearms.
- Confessional statement.
LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, J.S.C.
* FOR THE APPELLANT
- Ohwovoviole, Esq.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
- Euenmo. Esq.
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FACT (as relating to the issues)
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Benin Judicial Division delivered on 9th day of December, 2014. The Lower Court affirmed the judgment of the trial High Court, Asaba, (Delta State) which convicted and sentenced the appellant to three terms of imprisonment to run concurrently for the offence of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms. The appellant was arraigned before the trial Court on a five count charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms.
The accused/appellant pleaded not guilty to all the five head of counts. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial Court discharged and acquitted the appellant on the counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery but convicted him 2 on the other three counts of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms.
On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the appellant's appeal was dismissed. The pivot of the Lower Court's decision was its affirmation of the trial Court's finding that Exhibit A' a confessional statement attributed to the appellant was indeed made by him (appellant) and that the ingredients of the offences charged were contained therein.
The appellant was dissatisfied with the Judgment of the Lower Court and hence filed his notice of appeal now before the Court and containing three grounds of appeal, on the 15th day of December, 2014.
1. Whether the Lower Court rightly affirmed the trial Court's decision that the prosecution proved the charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt?
RESOLUTION OF ISSUE(S)
1. THE ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. There is evidence before the Court which was believed that the appellant was caught soon after the offence was committed. After his arrest he made a statement to the police admitting the facts of this case as presented by the prosecution through the three prosecution witnesses PW1-PW3. Although there was no direct identification of the appellant at the scene of the crime by the prosecution witnesses, the appellant by his confessional statement identified himself at the scene of the crime.
ii. The fact that the appellant was arrested soon after the crime was committed and his confessional statement admitting complicity in the crime has completely destroyed any doubt that may arise as to his identity and involvement in the crime.
iii. For all intents and purposes, I have no reason to depart from the concurrent findings by the two Lower Courts. This I say because it is obvious that the facts relating to appellant's bio-data as contained in Exhibit A' are such that the appellant only was equipped with the knowledge and non other. PW3, no matter his level of ingenuity, he could not possibly have invented the facts supplied by the appellant.
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The law is also well settled that a free and voluntary confessional statement of an accused person alone is sufficient to sustain his conviction where such voluntary confession of guilt is proved to be direct and positive and the Court is also satisfied as to its truth. - Clara Ogunbiyi, JSC. Okashetu v. State (2016)
Judicial authorities are well grounded that a mere denial by an accused person that he did not make a statement as it is in the case at hand, does not ipso facto render such statement inadmissible in evidence. - Clara Ogunbiyi, JSC. Okashetu v. State (2016)
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