2 February 2013

Nigeria: Appeal Court Affirms Death Sentence On Rev King

Lagos — The death sentence passed on the General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, also known as Reverend King, has been upheld by a Court of Appeal in Lagos.

The pastor, who was accused of burning a member of his church Ann Uzor to death, however, said through his lawyer Olalekan Ojo that he would appeal the verdict at the Supreme Court.

In her verdict, Justice Fatima Akinbami said all the issues raised by the pastor in his appeal failed at the higher court.

She said all the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses were unanimous, adding that they all pointed to the fact that the appellant actually used matches and petrol to set the deceased ablaze.

"Each of the prosecution witnesses gave evidence as to how the victim was beaten and burnt by the appellant.

"To my mind, there is no contradiction whatsoever and even if there were, it is immaterial, since all the witnesses are unanimous," she said.

Reverend King was convicted by Justice Joseph Oyewole of a Lagos High Court and sentenced to death by hanging on January 11, 2007 for allegedly setting Uzoh ablaze over an offence which he classified as "acts of fornication" alongside others.

Ezeugo, who was slammed with six-counts of attempted murder and murder, pleaded not guilty to all counts. His lawyer, Mr Olalekan Ojo, proceeded to the appellate court, where he argued that the trial judge erred by refusing admissibility of a dying declaration made by the deceased, which exonerated the convict.

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