Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court in Ikeja, yesterday, sentenced a 42-year-old man, Ifeanyi Nnamoko, to life imprisonment, for the death of his friend over a fight.
Nnamoko, who works as a scanvenger at a dumpsite 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 government for killing his best friend.
In her judgment, Justice Taiwo held that the convict was guilty of the murder charge brought against him. She 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 Ifeanyi Anyanwu.
"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 of 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 at 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 namesake, 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 Prosecution Counsel, Mrs. K.O. Sarumi, the convict committed the offence on March 4, 2011 at about 8:30a.m. at Oregun, Alausa, Ikeja. Sarumi said the convict murdered Ifeanyi 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, pleaded for leniency, saying: "The defendant is about 42 years old with four 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 response, the prosecution counsel, Sarumi noted that the defence has 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 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. Finally, the judge said: "I hereby sentence the defendant to life imprisonment."
In another development, Justice Sedonten Ogunsanya of the Lagos High Court yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment Mr. Kingsley Inyang for defiling a minor, 12-year-old girl (name withheld). The court found him guilty of one count charge of defilement brought against him by the state government.
Justice Ogunsanya upheld the argument of the prosecution counsel, led by the Attorney General, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, that by the provision of Section 261 of the Child's Right Law Chapter C7 Vol. 3 Laws of Lagos State, which defined the child as someone under the age of 18.
After listening to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, which included the victim's father, the Investigating Police Officer, and a medical doctor, the court was satisfied that the prosecution established the victim was a child and also observed several inconsistences in the testimonies of four defendant witnesses.
The judge therefore convicted Inyang on a one count charge of defilement contrary to section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011 and sentenced him to a life imprisonment being the punishment prescribed the law.
It would be recalled that Kingsley Inyang, a church member with the victim's parents was on July 2015, at No. 16 Adetunde Arogundade Street, Iju Ishaga, was alleged to have had carnal knowledge of a the girl, who was sent by her parents to call on him to attend a House Fellowship programme, but Inyang instead lured the girl into his room and defiled her with a warning that she should not tell anybody about what happened.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government yesterday arraigned a Dutch national, Peter Nielson, who allegedly murdered his wife and daughter before the State High Court sitting in Igbosere. The state filed two-count charge against Nielson, which borders on murder.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who led the prosecuting team, informed the court that the defendant murdered his wife, Zainab Nielson, and his daughter, Petra Nielson, at their residence in Banana Island, thereby committed an offence Punishable Under Section 223, Cap C17, Vol 3, Criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
The defendant's counsel, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), said he was not opposing the charge but that the defence would like to carry out their own test. Shasore, who was the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos, asked the court to provide directives to the prosecuting team to furnish him with autopsy report.
Earlier the prosecutor had asked the court to remand the defendant in prison custody based on his plea of not guilty. As a result, Justice Bola Okikiolu-Ighile, ordered that the defendant should be remanded in prison custody. The matter has been adjourned till October 8 for commencement of trial.