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EMMANUEL UGBOJI v. THE STATE

(2017) LPELR-43427(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 8th day of December, 2017

SC.593/2014


Before Their Lordships

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD 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

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

EMMANUEL UGBOJI - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the Offences of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division.

The appellant and 5 others were originally arraigned before the High Court of Benue State, sitting at Otukpo Judicial Division on a 5-count charge of conspiracy and armed robbery. Counts 1, 2 and 3 concerned an armed robbery incident which occurred on 18th October, 2001 at Achigili Street, Otukpo. Count 1 was a charge for conspiracy to commit armed robbery. One Salisu Mohammed was alleged to have been robbed at gun point and also shot and wounded in the course of the operation. He was allegedly robbed of the sum of N10,000.00.

In counts 4 and 5, the appellant and his co-accused were alleged to have committed the offences on 9th September, 2001 and 9th October, 2001 at Otia 'F' and Otia 'F' 7B, Otukpo, respectively. (See pages 2-3 of the record). They were alleged to have robbed one Adakole Ogale on 9/9/2001 and Stephen Ichakpa on 9/10/2001 of the sums of N3,500 and N16,000 respectively at gun point. Both counts were for armed robbery contrary to Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap. 398 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

???All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to each of the five counts. In the course of the trial, three of the accused were discharged on a no-case submission, leaving Olarewaju Akogwu, Mathias Garuba Idoko and the appellant who was the 3rd accused. They were eventually discharged and acquitted in respect of counts 1, 2 and 3. With regard to counts 4 and 5, the learned trial Judge, relying on the accused persons' extra judicial statement, found that the offence of armed robbery was established. He however invoked the provisions of Section 216 and 217 of the Criminal Procedure Code and also convicted them for conspiracy to commit armed robbery, an offence for which they were not charged.

Being dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appellants' appeal to the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division was dismissed on 19/12/2013.

The appellant was still dissatisfied and further appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
In the appellant's brief of argument, two issues were raised for the determination of the appeal which were adopted by the Court as follows:
1. Whether in the circumstances of this case it was proper to convict the appellant to conspiracy (sic) to commit armed robbery proffered against the appellant
2. Whether the prosecution proved the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable doubt as required by law?
DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Supreme Court found the appeal to be meritorious and it was accordingly allowed. The conviction and sentence passed on the appellant by the trial Court which was affirmed by the lower Court was accordingly set aside. Appellant was consequently discharged and acquitted.


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