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LEKAN OLAOYE v. THE STATE

(2018) LPELR-43601(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 19th day of January, 2018

SC.488/2016


Before Their Lordships

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

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI 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

LEKAN OLAOYE - 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 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos division Coram: Justice Sidi Dauda Bage JCA (as he then was), Yargata Nimpar and Abimbola Osarugue Obaseki - Adejumo JJCA. delivered on the 16th day of May, 2014 which affirmed the judgment of the Lagos State High Court per D. O. Oluwayemi J.

According to the Prosecution's version of events on 7th December, 2000, the deceased, late Chief Lai Balogun arrived at the Muritala Mohammed Airport from Abuja at about 3.30 p.m. after which the deceased in the company of his driver and security detail, Sergeant Olajide Longe was taken to his office situated at No 1, Balogun Street, Oregun Industrial Estate, Ikeja, Lagos.

Subsequently, the deceased at about 9.05 p.m on 7th December 2000 left his office for his residence at 26, Oluwole Street, Akoka, Lagos in the company of his driver and his security detail. On approaching the deceased's residence, the security gatemen opened the gate after which both the deceased and his security detail were accosted by 5 unknown armed men who fired gunshots towards the security detail's chest.

Upon gaining access into the residence of the deceased after threat to life had been issued by the gunmen, the deceased and the security detail were taken upstairs into two separate rooms with armed gunmen standing guard whilst members of the deceased's family were held captive downstairs with another armed man stationed to watch over them,

After about 10 to 15 minutes, both the deceased and the security detail were both shot in the separate rooms in which they were held after which the armed gunmen carted away the deceased's cellular phone, omega Wristwatch and the sum of N20,000.00 (Twenty Thousand Naira) and fled the scene of the crime.

The deceased and the security detail were both taken to the hospital where the deceased was later declared dead.

The appellant herein who was the 1st accused person at the trial Court, was charged along with three other co-accused persons before the trial Court on offences of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, murder and receiving stolen goods, contrary to Sections 403A, 402(2) (A), 319(1) and 420 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Cap 32, Vol.2 Laws of Lagos State of 1994. During the trial, the prosecution sought to tender a confessional statement which it alleged was voluntarily made by the accused/appellant but the defence objected to the admissibility of the said confessional statement on the ground that it was not made voluntarily by the accused/appellant. As is the law, the trial Court conducted trial within trial in order to determine the voluntariness of the said confessional statement. At the end of the mini-trial, the Court held that the statement was made voluntarily and admitted it in evidence and marked it as Exhibit H. The trial thereafter proceeded in earnest and in the end the trial Court found or held that the prosecution/respondent had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant and the three other co-accused persons committed all the offences as charged and convicted them accordingly.

Miffed by the judgment of the trial Court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal albeit, without success. Aggrieved by the judgment of the Court of Appeal affirming the conviction and sentence passed on him by the trial Court the appellant further appealed to the apex Court.


ISSUES:
The appeal was determined on the Respondent's issues viz:
A. Whether the eminent justices of the Court of Appeal were right in holding admissible Exhibit H, the purported confessional statement of the appellant predominantly relied on in convicting the appellant of the charges of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, robbery and murder same having been established to have been obtained under duress.
B. Whether apart from the Exhibit "H", the prosecution led cogent and credible evidence in proof of the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.

DECISION/HELD:
The appeal was unanimously dismissed. The judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division which had earlier affirmed the judgment of the trial High Court of Lagos State was further affirmed.


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