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In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 14th day of December, 2018

SC. 610/2016

Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria




THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the Offence of Receiving Stolen Property.
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal Ibadan Division, in Criminal appeal No.CA.1B/413C/2013 delivered on 17th May, 2016 by which said judgment, the Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction and sentence passed on the Appellant by the High Court of Ogun State sitting in Abeokuta.
On the 17th day of January, 2007, the complainant; one Aminat Olufade (PW. I) took a commercial motorcycle to take her home after closing from her place of business at about 7.30pm. Around Printing Corporation in Abeokuta, as the motorcycle slowed down, another motorcycle suddenly emerged beside her and the rider of that motorcycle forcefully snatched her bag and sped away. According to the complainant, she started shouting for help and asked the motorcycle rider that took her to ride fast after the other motorcycle; but they lost him. According to the complainant (PW.1), because of the conduct of the motorcycle rider that took her, she suspected his complicity in the whole incident, and therefore sought the help of Policemen attached to the Central Bank of Nigeria, who then immediately arrested him. 
According to the complainant (PW.1) about two weeks after, MTN gave her an itemized bill which contained the list of calls, duration of such calls and the numbers called. That, upon checking the list, she discovered that 15 minutes after the incident, calls were made from her phone stolen from her, and that a call to one of the numbers went through and was picked by a lady. That she then fixed an appointment with the lady, and also reported to the police who assigned a police-woman to accompany her. The lady was arrested. The lady told her that it was one Seyi (Appellant) who called her with the complainant's phone. The Appellant was then arrested. The complainant also testified that, her bag which was snatched contained some MTN, GLO, V-Mobile lines as well as recharge cards for MTN, GLO, MTS, Multilinks and V-Mobile. That, it also contained some phones such as Nokia 1100, Sagem MYX2, Federal Polytechnic Ilaro Student Identity Card and National Identity card and a bunch of keys.
The Appellant denied the charge. At the trial, the prosecution called three witnesses who testified as PW.1, PW.2 and PW.3 respectively. The prosecution also tendered the extra-judicial statements of the Appellant in evidence and the MTN itemized Bill, and were admitted as Exhibits P, P1, P10 and P11 respectively. The Appellant testified in his defense. 
The trial Court in its judgment convicted the Appellant and sentenced him to 21 years imprisonment, while the second accused was discharged and acquitted.
The Appellant having not been satisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, appealed to the Court of Appeal. After hearing the appeal, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal for lack of merit. 
Being dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Court determined the appeal based on the following lone issue:
"Whether the lower Court ought to have considered its previous decision in appeal No.CA/1305/2011 in convicting the Appellant having found that his confessional statement was direct, clear, and voluntary."

In the final analysis, the Supreme Court held that the appeal succeeded in part. Given that the Appellant had since served for more than the period of his punishment in custody, in the overall interest of Justice, it was ordered that he be released and set free from the prison custody with immediate effect.

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