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THE STATE v. MICHAEL OMO FADEZI

(2018) LPELR-44731(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 1st day of June, 2018

SC.999/2015


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI 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

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

THE STATE - Appellant(s)

AND

MICHAEL OMO FADEZI - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the Offence of Armed Robbery.
FACTS:
The appeal is against the Judgment of Kaduna division of the Court of Appeal delivered on 18th of September, 2015.

The respondent herein, was arraigned before the trial Court on an allegation of armed robbery along with three other co-accused, out of which two were at large hence they did not stand the trial. The respondent and one other who were alleged to have worn police uniform and armed themselves with guns broke into the house of Victor Omuruan and Clara Omuruan and robbed them of their personal belongings and a sum of N32,000 - on 14th October, 2001.


On their arrest, the respondent was charged with the offence of armed robbery, contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap 398 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria of 1990. At the trial Court, the respondent pleaded not guilty to the sole count.

The trial thereupon proceeded in earnest. In an effort to prove its case, the appellant called four witnesses to testify in its case, the first two of whom were Clara Omuruan and Victor Omuruan, the victims who testified at the trial as PW1 and PW2 respectively. The third witness was the IPO who investigated the case and also recorded the confessional statement of the respondent which was later tendered and admitted as exhibit at the trial without any objection by the defence. The fourth and last witness was a member of the Vigilante group who arrested the respondent. On the conclusion of the case for the prosecution, now appellant, the respondent/accused testified on his own behalf as DW2 but did not call any witness.

After the learned counsel for the parties delivered their addresses, the trial Court adjourned for Judgment. In the Judgment delivered by the trial Court, the respondent was found guilty as charged and was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.

The respondent was dissatisfied with his conviction and sentence by the trial Court hence he appealed to the Court of Appeal which in its Judgment allowed the appeal by the respondent in part, in that it set aside the conviction and sentence of death by hanging passed on him and substituted the conviction of armed robbery with that of simple robbery and reduced or commuted the death sentence to that of 21 years imprisonment to take effect from 4th August, 2005 being the date of his conviction by the trial Court.

Aggrieved by the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, the appellant brought this appeal.

ISSUES:
The appellant distilled a sole issue as follows:
Whether from the totality of the evidence in this case, the appellant did not prove beyond reasonable doubt the charge of armed robbery contrary to Section 1 (2)(a) (b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap 398 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990 against the Respondent but only proved robbery such as to Justify the decision of the Court of appeal in setting aside the conviction and sentence of the trial Court and substituting same with a conviction for robbery and sentence of 21 years imprisonment.

Similarly, the respondent also raised a lone issue thus:
Whether the Court of Appeal rightly held that the prosecution failed to prove the charge of armed robbery beyond reasonable doubt and convicted the respondent of a lessor offence of robbery .

The Court determined the appeal on the Parties' issues.


DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the appeal succeeded and was accordingly allowed. Consequently, the decision of the Court of Appeal was set aside while the Judgment, conviction and sentence passed on the respondent by the trial High Court was affirmed.


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