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(2018) LPELR-43598(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 19th day of January, 2018


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI 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

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


THE STATE - Appellant(s)


ABDULLAHI SANI - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the offence of armed robbery.

This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division delivered on 22nd December, 2010 in which the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of Abdullahi Yusuf J. of the Katsina State High Court, Daura delivered on 7th May, 2007. The Court of Appeal further quashed the conviction and sentence of the respondent and acquitted and discharged the respondent.

The facts of the case are that Salisu Lawal, PW3 lives with his wife Hadiza Ibrahim, PW4 in Nasarawa Central in Daura. On Thursday July 22, 2004 at about 3 a.m. he was asleep with his wife at home. They woke up when they heard some persons who turned out to be robbers opening the door of their room. Five persons eventually entered the room armed with knives, sticks, gun and a sword. They searched for valuables and carted away VCD, Video, Iron, Radio, N100,000 and proceeded to PW4's room where they stole two bundles of wrappers, lace, shoes, two bottles of perfume and left without harming anyone. They spent about two hours ransacking PW3's home. They made their escape thereafter. The respondent was not arrested at the scene of the crime neither were any of the robbers. The respondent was arrested after and one Babangida Gambo implicated him as one of the armed robbers. The respondent made a confessional statement.

On these facts the respondent and Babangida Gambo were charged before the High Court of Katsina State, Daura Judicial Division on a two (2) count charge bordering on Armed Robbery punishable with death contrary to Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and the Fire Arms Act Cap 398 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The respondent in the course of trial retracted his confessional statement and the Court went into a mini-trial. The learned trial Judge conducted the mini-trial together with the main trial and at the end of the mini trial admitted the respondent's confessional statement despite he and his co-accused alleging that the statement was obtained under duress. At the close of the trial, the respondent was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging by the learned trial Court.

Dissatisfied the respondent appeal to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the trial Court. In dissatisfaction with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Court determined the appeal on the issues formulated by the appellant as follows:
1. Whether the learned Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal, were right when they held that they had the powers to reformulate, and indeed, reformulated the defective issues for determination set before them by the appellant, at the Court below.
2.Whether the learned Honourable Justices were right when they held that the judgment of the High Court was not supported by evidence, when the record of proceeding showed otherwise.
3. Whether the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal were right when they held that the process/procedure adopted by the trial judge compromised the respondent right to fair hearing.

On the whole, the Court unanimously dismissed the appeal. The judgment of the Court of Appeal was affirmed. The appellant was acquitted on both counts and discharged from Court.

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