⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Akanbi Enitan & Ors. v. The State (1986) – SC
– Armed Robbery;
– Death sentence;
1. Akanbi Enitan;
2. Jimoh Adebayo;
3. Jimoh Kasali.
(1986) NWLR (Pt. 30)604;
(1986) 1 S.C 50;
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– Mr. H. A. Lardner, S.A.N.;
– Mr. F. O. Akinrele, S.A.N.,
– Mr. Chuka Agbu.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– R. A. Bello, Esq., Assistant D.P.P. Ogun State.
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
The three Appellants were in the court of first instance charged with Armed Robbery punishable by death under Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special provisions) Act No. 47 of 1970.
The learned trial Judge, Oduwole, J., on 13/4/84 found each guilty as charged, convicted each accordingly and sentenced each to death by hanging. The 3 Appellants then appealed to the Court of Appeal Ibadan Division Coram Uche Omo, Dosunmu and Omololu-Thomas, J.J.C.A. In a lead judgment, Omololu Thomas (with Uche Omo and Dosunmu. JJC.A. concurring) dismissed the appeals of the 3 Appellants holding that:”The conclusions of the trial Judge are justifiable in the circumstances … In my view the guilt of the Appellants had been established with the necessary degree of certainty; and nothing had been urged on all the grounds of appeal to fault the judgment and accordingly, the grounds of appeal fail. The appeal is dismissed and the judgment of Oduwole, J. is hereby affirmed.”
Dissatisfied with the above judgment of the Court of Appeal the Appellants have further appealed to this Court: The original ground filed by each Appellant was the omnibus ground “that the decision of the lower court is altogether unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be supported having regard to the weight of evidence.”
1. That the learned trial Judge did not consider the case of or against each Appellant separately.
2. That the trial Court used the extra judicial Statements made to the Police by the 2nd and 3rd Appellants who did not give evidence at the trial against the 1st Appellant.
⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
1. ISSUE 1 WAS RESOLVED AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
i. At p.63 of the record in lines 5 to 11, the learned trial Judge concluded:- “I believe the evidence of the prosecution witnesses which is clear and straightforward I therefore reject the defence of each of the accused persons which is nothing short of a concocted story and afterthought to save their necks.” The learned trial Judge was “censured” for “not considering the case of each accused separately”. That complaint cannot be made against a judgment which specifically rejected the defence of each of the accused persons. To consider and reject the defence of each accused presupposes prior consideration of the case against each such accused. This was done by the learned Judge.
2. ISSUE 2 WAS RESOLVED AGAINST THE APPELLANT BUT IN FAVOUR OF THE RESPONDENT.
⦿ SOME PROVISIONS
⦿ RELEVANT CASES
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
An Appellant appealing against a conviction in a criminal case on the facts has therefore, to allege that the verdict is unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence. – Oputa, JSC. Enitan v. State (1986)
The law here is quite clear. A Statement made to the Police during the investigation of a case may amount to an admission. Such a statement is evidence against the maker on that score. But such a Statement is definitely not evidence against a co-accused. But if a co-accused goes into the witness box and repeats on oath what he told the Police in his Statement, that evidence becomes evidence for all purposes including being evidence against a co-accused. But even there, such evidence should be and is always suspiciously regarded. – Oputa, JSC. Enitan v. State (1986)
It is trite law that if a witness is proved to have made a Statement, though unsworn, in direct conflict with his evidence on oath, then it is proper for the court to hold that his evidence in court is negligible and the case must otherwise and by other witnesses be proved. – Oputa, JSC. Enitan v. State (1986)
It is the law that where there are several persons standing trial for an offence, the case against each accused must at the conclusion of the evidence and addresses be considered separately. It is also the law that the statement to the police of a co-accused confessional or otherwise, is no evidence against his co-accused unless the truth of the statement is adopted by him. – Obaseki, JSC. Enitan v. State (1986)
I appreciate that the Appellants are each appealing against a conviction carrying a death sentence but all the same it is my view that it is only in proper cases namely:- 1. if a prima facie case is shown that the verdict appealed from was one which no reasonable tribunal could have arrived at, Or 2. if substantial points of law or procedure are raised in the additional grounds; then in such proper cases the Court would give leave to appeal or review the evidence but not otherwise. If this procedure is followed many appeals that really have no merit whatsoever (as the present appeal) would be disposed of speedily. – Oputa, JSC. Enitan v. State (1986)
If really there is nothing to urge in favour of an Appellant, learned counsel has a right and owes the court a duty to say so. There is nothing wrong in accepting the obvious but there is everything wrong in taking sides against arithmetic. – Oputa, JSC. Enitan v. State (1986)