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MICHAEL ANKPEGHER v. THE STATE

(2018) LPELR-43906(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 9th day of March, 2018

SC.529/2013


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR 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

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

MICHAEL ANKPEGHER - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the Offence of Culpable Homicide Punishable With Death.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, sitting at Makurdi, affirming the conviction and sentence of death imposed on the appellant at the High Court of Justice, Markurdi, Benue State.

It was the case of the prosecution that the deceased, one Kyernum Kervo, was alleged to have stolen a piece of goat meat at a funeral ceremony, whereupon he was apprehended and handed over to the Appellant and 2nd accused, Moavega Igba, by the Elders to take to the Police Station at Gungul. It was their case that instead of the Appellant and the 2nd accused taking the deceased to the Police station, they took him to the riverside, tied his legs and hands and burnt him to death.

The Appellant was arrested after the incident with the 2nd accused, whereupon they both confessed to the commission of the crime. The Appellant was charged together with Moavega Igba on a two count Charge of conspiracy to cause death and culpable homicide punishable with death contrary to Sections 97 and 221 of the Penal Code respectively. At the trial, the prosecution called a total of seven (7) witnesses and tendered several documents in evidence in proof of its case. The Appellant testified for himself and called two witnesses in denial of his culpability. ???The Appellant, testifying in his defence, retracted the confessional statement, stating rather, that after the Elders handed over the deceased to him and 2nd accused, directing them to take him to the police station, the elders sent a counter instruction that they should bring him back. According to the appellant the counter instruction did not go down well with the irate crowd that was following them, whereupon the crowd seized the deceased from them. Appellant testified further that he and 2nd accused fled the scene upon being threatened by the mob.

At the conclusion of the trial, the trial Court found the appellant guilty and imposed a sentence of death on him. His appeal to the Court of Appeal was unsuccessful. Hence, he appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The following single issue for determination was resolved in the appeal:
"Whether the prosecution has proved all the ingredients of the offences charged against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt as required by law."
DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the appeal was dismissed.


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