A man named Muritala Dare has been sentenced to death by hanging by a Lokoja High Court.
He was convicted of stabbing his colleague to death with a broken bottle.
Justice Josiah Majebi, who presided over the case at High Court 2, Lokoja, found the accused guilty after considering his involvement in an incident that occurred on Aug. 16, 2020, around the NUJ area of the Lokoja metropolis.
Dare was charged for the offense of culpable homicide punishable with death under Section 221 (a) and (b) of the Kogi State Penal Code.
According to the charge, Dare caused the death of one Lukman Karim by doing an act to wit, stabbing him on the neck and hand with a broken bottle with the intention of causing his death and thereby committing an offense.
To prove that the defendant committed the offense, the prosecutor called three witnesses and tendered seven exhibits, which included the defendant’s confessional statement, a Coroners Ordinance (Chapter) Report of Medical Practitioners, and a Nigeria Police Post-Mortem Examination report dated 19th August 2020.
While giving evidence, the principal witness who is attached to the Quick Response Unit of the Kogi State Police Command said the accused was apprehended at his hideout after committing the crime.
He said his victim was confirmed dead at the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, and his corpse was later deposited in the morgue.
Upon examination of the pieces of evidence presented before the court and particularly relying on the confessional statement made by the defendant, Justice Majebi averred that: “a confession is an admission at any time by a person charged with a crime stating or suggesting that he committed the crime.
“It is well settled that in a criminal trial (that) an issue may be proved by direct evidence (evidence of an eye witness) confession or admission voluntarily made by the defendant and circumstantial evidence”.
“Thus while concluding that the entire case of the prosecution was built on the confessional statement of the defendant, which though he tried effortlessly to deny during the trial, the statements he made during the course of investigating the matter were adequate to rely upon in passing the judgment”, the judge said.
The trial judge added: “It is trite law that a valid voluntary statement entered without objection and admitted in evidence is good evidence.
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“No amount of subsequent argument against it or retraction will vitiate its admissibility and potency as a voluntary statement and the mere denial by the defendant will not be a good reason for rejecting it.
“’It is only desirable to have some evidence of circumstances which make it probable that the confession was truly confessional, as in Exhibit P1 in the instant case.
“I have carefully perused and considered Exhibit P1. It is confessional in nature.
“I am compelled to consider the legal propriety/status of the said Exhibits P1 & P P6 in view of the fact that their admissibility is being challenged by the learned counsel for the defendant under issue two of his issues for determination and more importantly, that as earlier stated, the entire case by the prosecution herein is built on them particularly Exhibit P1.”
Justice Majebi further said that there were sufficient reasons to arrive at the conclusion that the evidence contained in the statements made by the defendant were convincing enough even outside his confessional statement.
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