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OKECHUKWU MARAIRE v. THE STATE

(2016) LPELR-41305(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 16th day of December, 2016

SC.551/2013


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD 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

OKECHUKWU MARAIRE - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the offence  of

FACTS:
The facts as


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presented by the prosecution are as follows:
PW3, Thomas Iyere was a night guard aat Buvel Filling Station, Muritala Muhammed Way, Benin City. He resumed work at about 7 p.m on 24/3/1999. After all workers closed for the day around 8 p.m he was alone in the premises. At about 2 a.m in the early hours of the morning of 25/3/1999 he heard some noise suggesting that the gate had been shaken. He went to investigate and saw two persons, who had already entered the premises, walking towards him. He asked of their mission but they did not respond. Sensing danger, he tried to escape to the nearby premises of New Nigerian Bank, which usually has a police presence.  Unknown to him, there were other hoodlums in the premises. Two other men grabbed him by the collar and dragged him to the mechanic section on the premises. According to his testimony, they tore his shirt and used part of it to bind his hands and legs. They advised him to remain quiet, as he was not the one they were after. A gun was pointed at him to ensure he understood their command. The person in possession of the gun stood over him while others went to carry out the operation. From where he was held he could hear noises indicating that metal protectors were


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being cut. The sound came from the main office block. After about an hour, the person guarding him left. He managed to free himself from his constraints and ran to the nearby New Nigerian Bank and narrated his experience to the policeman on duty. He also called the Managing Director of the Filling Station and narrated his experience. The first to arrive on the scene was Queen Igah (the office cashier- PW4)

PW1, Clement Kennedy Okoegwale, the Managing Director of the company received the news of the incident while away in the United States of America. He returned as soon as he could and arrived on 27/3/1999. He described what he saw thus:
a. the gate to his office had been sliced open with an electric saw;
b. the door leading to the strong room housing the safe (in the cashier%u2019s office) was destroyed; it had been sliced open with a cutting machine but the robbers were unable to force it open;
c. the safe in his office however was damaged and forced open. Various amounts of local and foreign currency and coral beads were found to have been stolen.
%u200B
PW2, the Admin Manager and PW4, the cashier, both testified as to how they found the


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strong room vandalized, safes opened and money carted away. PW5, attached to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Force C.I.D. Annex, Adeniji Adele, Lagos, was a member of the team assigned to investigate the case. The case was transferred to them from Benin pursuant to a petition written to the Assistant Inspector General of Police %u2018D%u2019 Department, Force C.I.D Abuja. The case file was handed over to him along with the first and second accused persons (the now deceased 1st accused and the appellant) from State C.I.D. Benin City. He visited the scene and testified as to what he observed and also mentioned the exhibits handed over to him. It was his testimony that the appellant volunteered a confessional statement, which he recorded and countersigned after the appellant confirmed that he made it voluntarily. An objection was taken to its admissibility on grounds of involuntariness. It was admitted in evidence after a trial within trial as Exhibit P1. PW6 is the Superior Police Officer before whom the appellant was taken to confirm his confessional statement. The attestation form was admitted in evidence as Exhibit P4. PW7, a process server attached


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to the State C.I.D legal section, tendered copies of signals sent to one Sgt. Patasi Sam to compel his attendance before the Court.


ISSUES:

DECISION/HELD:


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