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ABBEY MATHEW v. THE STATE

(2019) LPELR-46930(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 8th day of March, 2019

SC.176/2014


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

ABBEY MATHEW - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on criminal law and procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Benin, which affirmed the decision of the Edo State High Court, Uromi.

The case of the prosecution was that, the deceased- Chief Samuel Okhuelegbe, sometime on 5th October, 2006, had petitioned the Uromi Police Division, reporting a case of malicious damage against the 1st accused - lyere Ijeabulu. On 17/10/2006, PW2, having been detailed to investigate the matter, proceeded with PW4 to meet with the deceased petitioner in order to effect the arrest of the suspects. The said lyere Ijeabulu was then arrested. On their way back to Uromi, between Ebulen and Okigene, a group of youths from Ebole-Uzea, all carrying machetes and numbering over one hundred and fifty persons, who were doing community work on the road, blocked the way and prevented the Policemen from taking lyere Ojeabulu further. In the process, the deceased and the Policemen were beaten. The attackers tore the clothes of the deceased, and at a point, the deceased fell down. The PW2 eventually escaped and from his hiding, requested for reinforcement from the Divisional Police Office at Uromi. But at the time the policemen arrived the scene, the deceased was no longer where he was with his attackers. He was traced to Ebulen village and found lying face up in front of lyere Ojeabulu's house in the pool of his blood, with machete cuts all over his body and with his two legs completely broken. The deceased was then taken to the hospital where he later died.

The appellant and two others were arraigned before the High Court on two count charge of conspiracy to commit murder, punishable under Section 324 of the Criminal Code, Cap.48 Vol.11 Laws of the Bendel State of Nigeria 1976 [now applicable to Edo State of Nigeria] and Murder, punishable under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap.48 Vol.II, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria 1976 as applicable to Edo State. The appellant's defence was total denial. They were found guilty, convicted and sentenced accordingly to 12 years imprisonment with hard labour on count 1 and to death by hanging on the 2nd count. Appeal by each of the three convicts was dismissed by the Court of Appeal. Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The main issue for determination identified by the Supreme Court is:
"Whether with the total of evidence on record if properly evaluated by the trial Court, the Court below was right in affirming the conviction and sentence of the appellant for murder and conspiracy to commit murder."
DECISION/HELD:
???In the final analysis, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.


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