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SURAJU OLANREWAJU v. THE STATE

(2020) LPELR-49569(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 13th day of March, 2020

SC.335/2016


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALUMJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

SURAJU OLANREWAJU - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Akure Division.

The Appellant and one Lekan Olatayo together with one Fatai Ademola were living and sharing one-bedroom apartment at Oke Abesu, Osogbo sometimes in June, 2006. A girl, by name Bilkisu Adeyemi, who was said to be a girl friend to Fatai Ademola joined them and was sharing the same room with the three persons. On the 31st May, 2005, at about 1:00a.m after Fatai Ademola had had sexual intercourse with Bilkisu and slept off, the Appellant and Lekan Olatayo forcefully had sexual intercourse with Bilkisu. In order to prevent her from shouting they decided to block her mouth with bread. The blockage of her mouth lead to suffocation and subsequently her death.

The Appellant herein along with  Lekan Olatayo were arraigned before the High Court of Osun State of Nigeria on a two count charge of conspiracy to commit murder and murder of Bilikisu Adeyemi contrary to Sections 324 and 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 34 volume 11, Laws of Osun State 2003. When the charge was read and explained to them, they pleaded not guilty. In order to establish its case, the prosecution called three witnesses and tendered in evidence the statements of the accused persons which were confessional in nature. The two accused persons through their counsel objected to the admissibility of the statements on the ground that they were not voluntarily obtained. A trial within trial was conducted after which the learned trial Judge admitted the statements in evidence and marked them exhibits P1 and P2.

At the end of the trial and in a reserved and considered judgment delivered on the 13th January, 2014 the two accused persons were found guilty as charged. For the first count, they were cautioned and discharged. For the 2nd count they were each sentenced to death by hanging by the neck.

The Appellant herein unsuccessfully appealed to the Court of Appeal, Akure Division. Hence this appeal.

ISSUES:
The appellant formulated the following issue for determination:
"Whether the trial and conviction of the Appellant at the lower Court and affirmed by the Court below was not a nullity." 

The respondent also formulated a sole issue thus:
"Whether the trial Court and the lower Court observed all the requirement of the law before convicting the Appellant."

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal.


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