➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Ogunleye Tobi v The State (2019) – SC
by “PipAr” B.C. Chima
Supreme Court – SC.714/2017
➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Friday, 1st February, 2019
➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
➥ NOTABLE DICTA
⦿ INGREDIENTS TO PROVE MURDER BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT
It ought to have been established and is a well settled law too, that in a case of murder under Section 316 of the Criminal Code, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the underlisted ingredients of the offence; namely: (a) That death of a human being has been caused (b) That it was the act of the accused that caused or led to the death of the deceased. (c) That the act or acts were done with the intention of causing death; or (d) The accused knew that death would be the probable consequence of his act or acts See Omini Vs The State (1999) 12 NWLR (pt.630) 168 or (1999) 9 SC 1; Abogede V The State (1996); Ogba v The State (1992) 2 NWLR (pt.222) 164. — Amiru Sanusi, JSC.
⦿ ACCUSED PERSON HAS NO DUTY TO PROVE HIS INNOCENCE
It is apposite to stress here too, that an accused person has no duty to prove his innocence in criminal cases. See Alabi v State (1993) 7 NWLR (pt.397) 511; Ariche vs State (1993) 6 NWLR (pt.302) 752. — Amiru Sanusi, JSC.
⦿ MEDICAL EVIDENCE IS NOT PREREQUISITE TO ESTABLISH MURDER
Learned counsel for the appellant raised eyebrows on the failure of the prosecution/respondent to tender any medical report on the death of the deceased victim. It is trite law, that medical evidence though is desirable in establishing the cause of death in a case of murder, it is however not essential or a pre-requisite in a situation where there are facts sufficient enough to show the cause of death to the satisfaction of the Court. See LORI V STATE (supra) Uwaegbe Enewoh v The State (1990) NWLR (pt.145) 469 or (1990) 7 SC. — Amiru Sanusi, JSC.
⦿ SIX TESTS CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT MUST PASS IF RETRACTED
Where a confessional statement is retracted as in this case, the Court then shall decide the weight it would attach to the confessional statement. The best way to go about it is by subjecting the confession to the underlisted six tests, namely: (a) Is there anything outside the confession to show that it is true? (b) Is the confessional statement corroborated (c) Are the statements made in it of facts and so far as we can test them, true? (d) Is the accused person a person who had the opportunity of committing the offence (e) Is his confession possible? (f) Is it consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and which have been proved at the trial See Kareem v FRN (2003) 16 WRN 114; Kolawole v State (2015) EJSC (Vol.3) 41; Dibie v State (2007) 1 ALL FWLR (pt.363) 83; Ejinima v State (1991) 5 LRCN 1640; Bature v State (1994)1 NWLR (pt.320) 267. — Amiru Sanusi, JSC.
⦿ REQUIREMENTS TO SUCCEED IN AN APPEAL
In order to succeed in this appeal, the appellant must show that the decision of the lower Court affirming the judgment of the trial Court is perverse, either because the evaluation of evidence and findings of fact were not based on a proper and dispassionate appraisal of the evidence on record, or the trial Court did not make proper use of the opportunity of seeing and hearing the witnesses testify, or that the findings were reached as a result of a wrong application of substantive law or procedure, or that there was a miscarriage of justice manifest on the face of the record. See: Igbi Vs The State (2000) 3 NWLR (Pt. 648) 169; Shehu Vs The State (2010) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1195) 112; Itu Vs The State (2016) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1506) 443. — Kekere-Ekun, JSC.
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Amiru Sanusi, JSC
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
D.A. Awosika Esq.
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
Kehinde Aina Esq.
➥ CASE HISTORY
The facts of the case culminating in this appeal as could be gleaned from the record and as presented before the trial Court are that the accused/appellant had a fight with the deceased on 20th November, 2009 and in the course of the fight the appellant used knife and inflicted lethal injury on the back and left leg of the deceased. The deceased bled profusely which led him to the state of unconsciousness and was thereafter rushed to the hospital. Sequel to that, the appellant was arrested and arraigned before the trial Court and was tried convicted and sentenced.
Dissatisfied by his conviction and sentence, the appellant as I said earlier, appealed unsuccessfully to the Court below which affirmed his conviction and sentence by the trial Court.
Further piqued by the affirmation of his conviction and sentence by the Court below, the appellant further appealed to this Court.
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION
I. Whether having regard to the evidence led by the prosecution the trial Court and the Court of Appeal were right in holding that the prosecution proved the case of murder against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt?
RULING: IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
A. “In this instant case evidence abounds that the deceased died few hours after he was stabbed by the appellant and that piece of evidence was never challenged, controverted or contradicted at the trial. See Uyo v Bendel State (1986) 1 NWLR (pt.17) 418; See also Obogo v The State (1972) SC 39 where this Court held that a Court can infer the cause of death from the evidence and circumstances of the case.”
B. “To my mind therefore, the death of the deceased was as a result of and attributed to the act or acts of the appellant alone. There is, in my opinion a direct link between the injuries sustained by the deceased as a result of the knife stabs inflicted on the body of the deceased and his ultimate death. It is common knowledge and is indeed trite law, that infliction of serious and severe wound could have anticipatory natural result of death and the person who inflicted such serious or severe wounds would be guilty of murder. In my view, there is direct evidence adduced which proved the cause of the death of the deceased which connected the death of the deceased with the act or acts of the accused. See Oguntolu v State (1996) 2 NWLR (pt.432) 503; Young Ukauwa Uguru v The State (2002) 9 NWLR (pt.771) 90.”
C. “I must also add that there are concurrent findings of two lower Courts which I should not disturb since they are not perverse.”
“On the whole, it is my judgment that this appeal is devoid of any merit. It fails and is accordingly dismissed. The judgment of the lower Court which affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant by the trial Court of the offence of murder, is hereby further affirmed by me. Appeal is dismissed.”
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)