By Oyinkansola Okunlola
A man, Muritala Dare has been sentenced to death by hanging by a High Court sitting in Lokoja after being 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 offence 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 Lukman Karim whom he stabbed on the neck and hand with a broken bottle with the intention of causing his death thus committing an offence.
The prosecutor while proving his case called three witnesses and tendered seven exhibits, including 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.
According to the principal witness who is attached to the Quick Response Unit of the Kogi State Police Command, the accused was apprehended at his hideout after committing the crime. He also said that the victim was confirmed dead at the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja and his corpse later deposited in the morgue.
Justice Majebi upon examination of the pieces of evidence presented before the court and particularly relying on the confessional statement made by the defendant, 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.
He also stated that:
“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.”
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.
He noted that for the prosecution to succeed in a charge of culpable homicide, under Section 221 (a) of the said Penal Code, it must have the ingredients of the death of a deceased resulting from the act of a defendant.
The judge thus concluded that all these essential ingredients were already manifest in the matter and supported by other evidence. He then found the defendant guilty of the charge of culpable homicide and convicted him accordingly.
In his word: “The sentence of this Court upon you is that you will be hanged by neck until you be dead and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul,” he pronounced.