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(2019) LPELR-47386(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 12th day of April, 2019


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR 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

PAUL ADAMU GALUMJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


ALPHA PAUL - Appellant(s)


THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the Offence of culpable homicide punishable with death.
On the 15th of August, 2010 at about 1.00 pm the Appellant who was living at Bariyanga village, via Gunduma, Gassol local Government Area of Taraba State with his wife, Rahab Alfa Paul, before this incidence, left their home and went to a television viewing center to watch football.

The wife also left home and went to where she sold locally brewed alcohol popularly called "burukutu." The Appellant returned home late in the night and found that the door leading to their bedroom was locked from inside. Knowing that his wife was inside, he called severally and knocked at the door for his wife to open the door, there was no answer. He now kicked open the door with his foot and entered the room. A quarrel ensued between him and his wife. This quarrel degenerated into a fight. One Mr. Danladi Yayeh an uncle to the Appellant, heard about the fight and came to the Appellant's house at about midnight on the same 15th August, 2010 with his two wives and when he entered into the Appellant's room, he found him fanning his wife who was already unconscious. Danladi Yayeh who testified as PW1 at the trial Court went to town and secured a vehicle for the sole purpose of conveying the Appellant's wife to the hospital.He reported the incidence to the police and was given a policeman who came with him to the Appellant's house. When they got to the house he met a crowd and heard from some members of the crowd, saying that Rahab had died. It was at this instance that some of Rahab's relations who were among the crowd pounced on him and started to beat him. He returned to the police station and told the officer in charge that Rahab had died. The police officer now used the vehicle that was procured by PW1 and conveyed the corpse of Rahab to the Referral Hospital in Mutum Biyu.

???The Appellant who saw what the relations of his wife did to his uncle went into hiding and was subsequently arrested at Yoro Local Government Area and handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department, police headquarters Jalingo.

He was on the 21st of January, 2011, arraigned before the Taraba State High Court, on a one count charge of culpable homicide punishable with death under Section 221(a) of the Penal Code.

Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. In order to prove its case, the prosecution called five witnesses and tendered various items including a medical report which was tendered from the bar. These items were admitted in evidence. Parties addressed the Court through their respective Counsel. In a reserved and considered judgment delivered on the 27th April, 2012, Ali I. Andenyangtso J., found the Appellant guilty as charged and sentenced him to death by hanging till he be dead.

The Appellant felt aggrieved and therefore filed an appeal at the Court of appeal Yola Division. His appeal was heard and in a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal, (Coram Bada, Sankey and Jauro JJCA) delivered on the 19th December, 2013, his appeal was dismissed. The instant appeal is against the decision of the Court of Appeal.

The apex Court determined the appeal on a lone issue viz:
''Whether the lower Court was right when it held that the prosecution has proved its case against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt.''

In a unanimous decision, the appeal was dismissed for lack of merit. The judgment of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the conviction and sentence of the Appellant by the trial Court was further affirmed.

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