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(2019) LPELR-47405(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 12th day of April, 2019


Before Their Lordships

WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

UWANI MUSA ABBA AJI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


YAKUBU ALI - Appellant(s)


THE STATE - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.

The appellant was one of the five accused persons who were arraigned before the Kogi State High Court holden at Egbe in amended Charge No HCL/18C/2002 for conspiracy, culpable homicide and armed robbery contrary to Sections 97, 221 (a) and 298(b) respectively of the Penal Code. The charge against the accused persons was preferred with leave under Section 185 (b) CPC. The appellant was the 4th accused while the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th accused were Sgt. Monday Yakubu, Rasak Olanrewaju, Akeem Abiodun and Rasheed Ayinde respectively.

The facts of the case are that on or about 6 May, 2001 around 12.45 am, the 1st accused, Sgt. Monday Yakubu drove a TATA green army truck with Reg. No. DHQ 154 from Lagos to Ise Oluwa Sawmill Egbe in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State carrying the other 4 accused namely Rasak Olanrewaju, Akeem Abiodun, Yakubu Ali (the present appellant) and Rasheed Ayinde. He parked the truck at the entrance of the Sawmill and the other 4 accused alighted from the truck. A security guard, Joseph Folatayo (PW1) sighted the four accused when they entered the Sawmill carrying a halogen lamp and a gun. PW1 ran to alert Ojo Ayodeji (PW3) a Manager at the Sawmill concerning what was going on. PW3 in turn called the police and when they arrived, they found the said army truck at the entrance of the Sawmill and the 1st accused was inside the vehicle and they arrested him. They saw the corpse of Mohammed Shuiabu (popularly called Baba Muri) one of the security guards in the Sawmill. He was in a pool of blood, with his head battered and his hands and legs were tied with a rope. A blood stained piece of wood was found near the corpse. A sewage machine valued at N25,000.00 was stolen. One of the machine wheels had been loosened and rolled towards the army truck. A box of tools and other items belonging to the accused were found inside the vehicle. The other accused including the appellant were later arrested. At the joint trial of the accused the prosecution tendered 29 exhibits which included the confessional statements of the accused. The accused objected to the tendering of the statements by alleging that they were obtained under duress and the Court had to order for a trial within trial before admitting the statements. The 4th accused/appellant made two statements on 7/5/2001 and 8/5/2001. They were admitted as exhibits 28A and 28B respectively.

The trial Judge delivered his judgment on 11 May 2005. He found all the accused guilty of criminal conspiracy and sentenced each of them to 10 years imprisonment. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th were found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to death. In addition they were found guilty of armed robbery and were given life imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently. The appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed hence a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Court determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:

1. Whether having regard to the entire circumstances of this case, the Court below was correct in holding that the appellant gave his consent to the assignment, by the trial Court of Chief Oyibo to represent him as counsel and that no miscarriage of justice or denial of fair hearing had been shown by the assignment of one counsel to represent the appellant and the other accused persons.

2. Whether the Court below was right in holding that the trial Court complied with the provisions of Section 191 of the Criminal Code at the trial of the appellant.

3. Whether in the entire circumstances of this case the Court below was correct in affirming the conviction and sentence of the appellant for conspiracy, culpable homicide punishable with death and armed robbery.

On the whole, the Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.

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