Ikeja High court Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences has sentenced one Mr. Ifeanyi Nnamoko to life imprisonment, for the death of his friend over a fight.
Ifeanyi is a scanvenger at a Dump site in Ojota was arraigned on March 24, 2011 on a one count of murder contrary to Section 319 (1), cap 17 Vol. 2 Laws of Lagos State, 2003.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder brought against him by Lagos State for killing his best friend.
In her judgement, Justice Taiwo held that the convict was guilty of the murder charge brought against him.
Justice Taiwo said, “The prosecution has proved the case of death of a human being beyond reasonable doubt. I hereby find the defendant guilty of the murder of one Ifeanyi Anyanwu.
Ruling, the judge said, “However, I have carefully considered the allocutus of the defence counsel, bearing in mind the defendant’s age and also the plea to reduce the offence of the defendant to manslaughter. I hereby sentence the defendant to life imprisonment.”
However, the judge noted that due to prosecution’s failure to tender the object of harm as well as autopsy report for the deceased, the prosecution failed to prove a case of murder against the convict.
She however held that there was circumstantial evidence against the convict.
She held that the testimony of the convict that there had been a fight between him and his friend that morning of the victim’s death was weighty, especially that some eyewitnesses at the scene of the incidence pointed accusing fingers to him.
The judge further said, “It is in my view that circumstantial evidence proved that the deceased death was caused by a cutlass.”
Trouble started for Ifeanyi Nnamoko over the death of his best friend and name sake Ifeanyi when they had earlier had a fight over a claim that his friend usually poked fun at him.
He had said in his evidence before the court that when a friend bought him a bottle of wine, the deceased poked fun at him which led to their fight.
According to the Prosecuton Counsel, Mrs K. O. Sarumi (Mrs.) the convict committed the offence on March 4, 2011 at about 8.30 am at Oregun, Alausa, Ikeja.
Mrs. Sarumi said that the convict murdered Ifeanyi, the deceased, by cutting off his head with a cutlass.
“The accused person is found guilty of the offence as charged, and is accordingly convicted.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Mary Eibiaezue blabbed during the allocution on behalf of the convict saying, “The defendant is about 42 years old with 4 kids and an only son of his parent. He is a first time offender. It was an act of provocation…. The source of others livelihood depends on him.”
In quick response, the prosecution counsel, Sarumi immediately harped that the defence has actually accepted that it was an act of provocation that caused the death of the deceased. The Law says if this act of action is committed, the penalty is spelt out.
As the judge was in the process of handing down the penalty for the murder charge, a lawyer , O. Ajanaku who was in court for another matter rose to his feet to draw the attention of the judge to various law principles that warrant a charge of manslaughter for the convict.
He argued that in this instance, the court should lessen the charge of murder to manslaughter.
Conclusively, the judge said ” I hereby sentence the defendant to life imprisonment.”