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JONAH LASE v. THE STATE

(2017) LPELR-42468(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 2nd day of June, 2017

SC.532/2015


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR 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

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

JONAH LASE - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the offence of Kidnapping and Murder.
FACTS:
This appeal arose from the decision of the Court of Appeal, Akure Judicial Division delivered on the 9th July, 2015, in Appeal No. CA/AK/97C/2014. In the appeal, the Court affirmed the conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant by the High Court of Akure presided over by Justice A. O. Odusola in suit No AK/34C/2013 delivered on the 20th March, 2014.
The brief facts of the case are, the appellant and one Olusegun Oboro (1st Accused) allegedly Kidnapped one Dada Rachel Akinboye (deceased) an Eighteen months old baby who was sleeping with her mother at lkorigho, Ondo State and handed her over to one Theophilus Friday (3rd Accused) who subsequently murdered the deceased and removed her body parts. The Ikorigho community consulted their local deity "Ogbaji" to fish out those responsible for the kidnap, the name of the appellant and other accused persons were mentioned, as responsible for the act. The community after arresting them handed them over to the Police.
At the Police Station, the appellant made a confessional statement which he later denied was voluntary. After the trial within trial, the trial Court admitted the statement as evidence
The prosecution called a lone witness, while the appellant testified in his defence. After the hearing, the appellant along with the other accused were convicted and sentenced to death on the two counts.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the trial Court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal which confirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant. %u200BBeing dissatisfied with the judgment, the appellant sought to upturn the decision by lodging an appeal to the Supreme Court.


ISSUES:
The appeal was determined on a sole issue for determination which was re framed by the Court as follows:-

"Whether the lower Court was right to have affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant for the offences of kidnapping and murder on the basis of confessional statement and testimony of PW.1 relied upon by the trial Court."


DECISION/HELD:
In a majority decision, PAUL ADAMU GALINJE, J.S.C. (DISSENTING) the appeal was dismissed for lacking in dire merit. The conviction and sentence of the Appellant was reconfirmed.


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