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FREEBORN OKIEMUTE v. THE STATE

(2016) LPELR-40639(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 1st day of July, 2016

SC.501/2012


Before Their Lordships

SULEIMAN GALADIMA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

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

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

FREEBORN OKIEMUTE - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION: This criminal appeal borders on the offence of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and robbery.
FACTS: The appeal emanated from the Delta State High Court, Ozoro, where appellant was charged with and arraigned for the offence of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and robbery.

The charge read as follows:
"STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: COUNT I
Conspiracy to commit armed robbery punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special provisions) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
Freeborn Okiemute (m) and others now at large on or about the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro in the Ozoro Judicial Division conspired to commit armed robbery.
STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: COUNT II
Armed robbery punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Laws of the Federation. 2004.
PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
Freeborn Okiemute (m) and others now at large on the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro in the Ozoro Judicial Division robbed one Okomedono Bright of his Sagem handset while armed with gun.
STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: COUNT III
Armed robbery punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
Freeborn Okiemute (m) and others now at large on the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro in the Ozoro Judicial Division robbed one Beauty Egbamuno of her handset while armed with gun.
STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: COUNT IV
Armed robbery punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
Freeborn Okiemute (m) and others now at large on the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro in the Ozoro Judicial Division robbed one Ajiri Egbamuno of her Samsung Handset while armed with gun.
STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: COUNT V
Armed robbery punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Laws of the Federation, 1990.
PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
Freeborn Okiemute (m) and other now at large on the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro in the Ozoro Judicial Division robbed one Mathilda Egbamuno (f) of N500,000.00 cash, jewelry, wrappers and other personal belongings while armed with gun.
STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: COUNT VI
Armed robbery punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) of the robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Laws of the Federation, 1990.
PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE
Freeborn Okiemute (m) and others now at large on the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro in the Ozoro Judicial Division robbed one Marvelous Okomedono (m) of his Siemens handsets while armed with gun."

The Appellant pleaded not guilty to the six counts charge. The trial proceeded. The prosecution called six witnesses, while the Appellant testified for himself. At the conclusion of the trial, the trial Court discharged and acquitted the Appellant in respect of the counts Il, lll, IV and VI but convicted him in respect of counts I and V relating to the robbery committed against PW3 and held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal, Benin, which dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial Court. Appellant therefore appealed to the Supreme Court.
ISSUES: Appellant formulated the following issues for determination in the appeal:
(i) Whether the lower Court was right in upholding the finding of the trial Court that the PW3 gave positive evidence of identification/recognition of the appellant as one of the armed robbers that robbed PW3,
(ii) Whether from the totality of the evidence on the record, the lower Court was right in affirming the conviction of the appellant by the trial Court for the offences of conspiracy to rob and armed robbery.

Respondent compressed the issues formulated by appellant and arrived at the following sole issues for determination:
"Whether the lower Court was wrong in affirming the judgment of the trial Court that the prosecution proved the count on the information beyond reasonable doubt."

Respondent's sole issue was employed in determining the appeal.
DECISION/HELD: In the final analysis, the appeal failed and was dismissed.


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