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SALIHU HASSAN v. THE STATE

(2017) LPELR-43288(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Tuesday, the 7th day of November, 2017

CA/A/321C1/2013


Before Their Lordships

ABUBAKAR DATTI YAHAYA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

TANI YUSUF HASSAN Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

MUHAMMED MUSTAPHA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

SALIHU HASSAN - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the offences of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Kogi State sitting at Ebogogo wherein the appellant as 3rd accused, along with three others were charged on a three Amended heads of charge of Criminal Conspiracy and Armed robbery contrary to Sections 97(1) and 298 (c) of the Penal Code, in Suit No. HCEB/09C/2011

The facts of the case are that on the 16th day of October, 2011, a gang of armed robbers invaded the house of one Isiaka Stephen Otaru. They robbed him of the sum of twenty thousand naira, his wife's jewelries and six Nokia handsets. The armed robbers were six in number, three were masked and three were not. As they entered the room they started beating him and asked for money, and threatened to kill him if he refused to give the money. They searched his room and compound and got only N20,000.00k, 6 Nokia handsets and his wife's jewelries. They took him from his house to his shop where he sells frozen fish and searched the shop, and from there they took him to the house of one Ohireku and later to the shop of Ohireku where they took away recharge cards and phones in Ohireku's shop. He said he was beaten by the armed robbers and hit with the handle of a gun. After taking large sums of money, they let them go. The victims said they identified some of the armed robbers as the operation lasted for about three hours.

The armed robbers returned the sim card of the 1st victim Stepen Otaru to him and asked him to buy a new phone because they will call him. ???The following day Otaru (PW1) inserted the sim card and as they promised, he was called. The sum of N2 million naira was demanded from him. He told them he had no such money. After negotiation they agreed on N200,000.00. PW1 reported the matter to the Police and he was advised on what to do. The Police advised him to wrap two rolls of toilet paper in a polythene bag and drop it. That on 20/10/2011 he was called around 4.00 am to go and drop the money along Ihima Obangede Road. He then informed the DPO who mobilized mobile police men around the area. PW1 said as he was going to drop the money (two rolls of wrapped toilet paper) he noticed a light blue Nissan car following him through his side mirror. When he dropped the purported money, he called to inform them. As he was driving back, the Nissan car that was following him stopped to pick the purported money when they were apprehended by the Police. After a short while, the DPO called him to come and identify the man that picked the purported money and he identified the 1st accused person. Later the other three accused persons were arrested. They were charged with the offence of conspiracy and armed robbery.

At the trial, the prosecution called five witnesses in proof of its case. At the conclusion of trial, the appellant and his co-accused persons were found guilty and convicted as charged. Aggrieved, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.
ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal on the issues raised by the Appellant and couched as follows:
1. Whether the learned trial judge was right to hold that the prosecution had proved its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt?
2. Whether the learned trial judge was right to convict the Appellant on charges relating to crimes against PW2 (that is counts one and three) which were never investigated by the police?

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court of Appeal found merit in the appeal and accordingly allowed same. The judgment of the High Court delivered on 27/3/2013 was thereby set aside. Consequently, the appellant was discharged and acquitted.


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