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FASILAT ADEPOJU v. THE STATE

(2018) LPELR-44355(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 20th day of April, 2018

SC.484/2014


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

FASILAT ADEPOJU - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the Offences of Conspiracy and Robbery.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos. The Appellant was tried at, and convicted by, the Lagos State High Court on a two count charge alleging conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery contrary respectively to Sections 403(a) and 402(1) of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C.17 vol. 2 Laws of Lagos State, 2003. She was jointly tried for the two offences with one Kazeem Raimi, her boyfriend.

Etiosa Osigbo-Esere, the alleged victim of the robbery, testified as Pw.1. She had known the Appellant intimately for a while. The Appellant lived with one Linda Ofili who lived as Pw.1's tenant in the Boys Quarters of the same apartment. The Appellant was Linda Ofili's house help or nanny. Most times the Pw.1 invited the Appellant to her living room in the main building where they watched television together. The Pw.1 claimed that she occasionally gave the Appellant some of her dresses she no longer needed. ???Pw.1 testified that on 4th January, 2006 between 8.30 and 9.00pm, a man intruded and barged on her through the back doors that were open as she was cooking. The man wore a red baseball cap. He was followed by a lady who "had tied a veil around her face". They pushed her to the living room. Pw.1 was ordered to kneel down by the man and the lady. Pw.1 obliged. They ordered her to surrender her jewelleries, valuables and money. The man collected Pw.1's Nokia 6310 handset from her. As she tried to move the lady commanded: "Don't move or I will scar your face". Pw.1 was frightened. She however not only recognized Appellant's voice, she also recognized the pair of shoes she had earlier given to the Appellant, as handout. The man, identified as the 1st accused, did not cover his face. The Pw.1 noticed the tribal marks on his face. 

Pw.1 further narrated that the duo had warned her that they were armed and that if she did not co-operate they would harm her. She, accordingly, did not resist. They led her into the rooms and collected 3 wrist watches, a pair of white gold earrings, a set of gold earrings and a pendant with blue beads. They brought her back to the living room. The Appellant commanded her to kneel down there and she did. The Appellant, while the Pw.1 knelt down, allegedly disconnected the LG Silver 32 Inch Television set and took it out. She came back and removed PW.1's DVD player, Video set and a Starcom phone. While Appellant was allegedly doing all these, Pw.1 noticed "something bulging underneath (the 1st Accused's) shorts at the right hand side" when he was watching over her as she knelt down. She took the "bulging something" as the weapon they said they had on them. The Appellant, as the Dw.2, testified that the 1st Accused was her boyfriend. That while she was engaged as a nanny, one Mr. Robert, the husband of her boss had raped and impregnated her. On confirming that she was pregnant, the Appellant averred that she informed the husband of her boss about it and warned that if he did not find solution she would tell his wife. Mr. Robert and the Appellant settled at some money to be given to her to "buy hair dryers" - the tools of her trade. Mr. Robert further promised to give her N100,000.00 in addition. ???The Appellant testified further that on the fateful day she had gone to the Boys Quarter where Linda, her boss, resided to remove Linda's property. The things taken from Pw.1, according to the Appellant, were Linda's belongings -because when Linda was (packing) the vehicle she came with could not contain all her property so she left some of her things with the Pw.1. Appellant insisted that she packed Linda's belongings from the Pw.1's house, and that Pw.1 was not at home that day. She maintained that she was not armed that day. She admitted in her testimony, under cross-examination - The items I stole from Pw.1's house were: an LG Television, a CD player and two mobile phones; a pair of earrings and a pendant as well as two wrist watches,  and that these items were taken to the 1st Accused's defendant's house. The 1st Accused, as Dw.1, did not deny going with the Appellant to the residence of the Pw.1. His account, not in any way dissimilar to the account of the Appellant, was that the husband of the Appellant's boss had impregnated the Appellant; because he did not want the wife to know, he promised the Appellant that all the money the Appellant spent as medical bills would be refunded. He however reneged on the promise. The Dw.1 continued - We were bitter about the failed promise so we went to the house of her boss to take her belongings. They packed the belongings, unarmed, in the absence of the Appellant's boss, Dw.1 testified.

The High Court, on the totality of the evidence before it, found that the two offences of conspiracy and robbery had been proved beyond reasonable doubt against the duo of the appellant and the 1st Accused. They were convicted as charged. The Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction and sentence. Further dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the first issue raised by the Respondent and couched as follows:

"Having regard to the facts and evidence led by the Prosecution and the unequivocal admission of the appellant before the trial Court, whether the lower Court was right to have affirmed the judgment of the trial Court."



DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.


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