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(2018) LPELR-43720(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 9th day of February, 2018


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI 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

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria




THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on the Offence of Murder.
This appeal is against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on 5/8/15 dismissed the Appellant's appeal and affirmed her conviction on 28/9/11 by the High Court of Imo State, sitting in Owerri per C. M. I. Egole on a one count charge of murder brought by information of the Attorney General of Imo State.

The deceased Chibuike Nlemagwu was having amorous relationship with the appellant which lasted for three years before his death. The deceased had earlier promised to marry the appellant but the appellant later discovered that the deceased was already married with some children. She thereby became disenchanted and started to hatch a plan to kill him. On 27th March, 2009 the deceased, while driving on his way coming from his village called the appellant and arranged to have a date with her and she thereby saw that overture as an opportunity to execute her plan to eliminate the deceased. The unsuspecting deceased went and picked the appellant to Cradle Hotel Owerri, where both of them spent the night together.

Unknown to the deceased, the appellant had earlier planned with two hired-killers to execute her plan by positioning them where she would alight from the deceased's car. Then, while on their way and on reaching the appointed place where she positioned the two hired killers and without any suspicion she asked the deceased to slow down in order to drop her. The two gun men/hired killers suddenly emerged and pounced on the deceased and shot him on his stomach and escaped.

On hearing the sound of gun shots, the PW2 having been alerted by the sound of the gun shots, came out and saw the deceased bleeding and crying for help. PW2 saw the appellant at the scene trying to escape too, but he pleaded with her not to run away and she agreed to stay and she accompanied him (PW2) in conveying the deceased to the hospital. The deceased later died after six days while on admission in the hospital. Police investigation later revealed that the appellant had hand in the dastardly murder of the deceased but merely brought the story of kidnap allegation just to cover up her involvement in the murder.

After concluding its investigations, the police arraigned the accused/appellant before the trial court on a charge of murder, contrary to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 30 Vol. II, Laws of Imo State of Nigeria. The appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. At the trial the prosecution called three witnesses to prove its case against the accused/appellant while the appellant testified on his own behalf at the trial. In the end, the trial Court per C. M. I. Egole, J. found that the prosecution, (now respondent) had proved its case against the accused/appellant and convicted and sentenced her to death.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial Court, the appellant unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Appeal which affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant to death by the trial Court. Still not satisfied with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the appellant has further appealed to the Supreme Court.

The appeal was determined on this lone issue:

Whether the prosecution proved the case of murder contrary to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code beyond reasonable doubt against the appellant.

In conclusion, the appeal was dismissed. The judgment of the Court of Appeal which had affirmed and endorsed the judgment of the trial Court convicting the appellant for the offence of murder, was further affirmed.

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