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CAJETHAN OKORO v. THE STATE

(2018) LPELR-44273(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018

CA/OW/166C/2014


Before Their Lordships

RAPHAEL CHIKWE AGBO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

AYOBODE OLUJIMI LOKULO-SODIPE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ITA GEORGE MBABA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

CAJETHAN OKORO - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the decision of Hon. Justice C.I. Ohakwe of the Imo State High Court.

Appellant and other Accused persons, namely: Ejike Okoro, Uchenna Ude, Raphael Ike, Paul Njoku, Ikechukwu Ukonu, Boniface Okoro, Eric Igbo, Chidiebere Ajoku and Anayochukwu Unamba, were accused of the murder of Okechukwu Osuji on 11th day of May, 2001 at Owerri, contrary to the Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 30 Vol.11 Laws of Eastern Nigeria, 1963, applicable to Imo State.

The case of the prosecution was that the accused persons, including the appellant, was a group of people, a secret cult called "Aburu puru ime ihe nile". The members of the secret cult killed Okechukwu Osuji on 11/5/2001, and extracted his brain for ritual purposes. The 1st Accused person admitted the existence of the said secret cult and that they, including the appellant, organized and planned the killing of the deceased.

Appellant was arraigned and he denied liability for the offence of murder for which he was charged. At the end of the trial, the Court held that the prosecution has established the offence of murder of Okechukwu Osuji against the appellant and some other accused persons. The Court found them guilty and imposed a sentence of death on them. Aggrieved, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The issues for determination in the appeal are:
(1) Whether the Statement of the 1st Accused person, Ejike Okoro, tendered in the course of the trial as Exhibits 'A' 'C' and 'Q' in the Lower Court implicating the appellant, in law, can be used to convict the appellant, the appellant having not adopted it as his statement or part of his evidence in his defence.
(2) Whether the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt, as required by law, that the Appellant murdered the deceased (Okechukwu Osuji) for which he was convicted and sentenced by the trial Court.

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the appeal was allowed. Appellant was discharged and acquitted.


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