• Ezediufu v. State
  • 113
  • 2002-07-29
  • ₦ 200
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Ezediufu v. State






J. THOMPSON AKPABIO, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )





CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE  - Arraignment - Valid and proper arrangement - Conditions therefor - What amounts to most import requirement of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment - Meaning of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Charge - How same should be read and explained to an accused under the provisions of section 215  CPA - Whether language used relevance

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Defence of insanity - Burden of proving same when raised - On whom lies

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Defence of insecurity - When to raise same

EVIDENCE - Circumstantial evidence - Evaluation of - Need to ensure that there are no other co-existing circumstances that can weaken or destroy the inference drawn therefrom

EVIDENCE - Circumstantial evidence - Presumption of guilt based thereon

-  Onus on the accused to rebut same

EVIDENCE - Circumstantial evidence - Purport of - Nature of required to convict an accused for murder

EVIDENCE - Proof - Proof beyond reasonable doubt - Application of Need to employ same only in deserving cases - Section 138(1) Evidence Act

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Arraignment’ - Meaning of


1.            Whether from the printed record there was proper arraignment of the appellant before the trial court as required under section 215  of the Criminal Procedure Act.

2.            Whether from the record, the learned trial Judge placed the burden of proof on accused to prove his innocence.

3.            Whether on the totality of the evidence adduced at the trial, the prosecution proved its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.


The appellant was charged before the High Court of Anambra State for murder contrary to section 319 of the Criminal Code and was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.

The facts of the case as narrated by PW3 were that on the day of the incident, PW4 had a chat with the deceased and after the deceased had gone to her house, she heard a wailing cry from the deceased’s house. The distracting voice of the deceased was saying that “Ezediufu has killed me” referring to the appellant. PW4 then rushed to the house of the deceased who was the mother of the accused and there saw the accused standing in front of his mother’s room with the door locked. The accused told PW4 that the deceased had travelled to a neighbouring village when she sought to see the deceased. Having observed no trace of the deceased the next morning, she went back to the deceased’s house and then demanded for the key of the door of the deceased’s room from the accused but the accused refused to give it to her. The accused there and then informed PW4 that the deceased had travelled to Onitsha when PW4 required again about her whereabouts. The accused was later seen washing the deceased’s bed. When he was queried for his action, accused said that the deceased’s bed was infested with bed bugs. PW4 then reported the unsatisfactory behaviour of the accused to PW1. In addition an emissary was dispatched to Onitsha to find out from deceased’s daughter whether the deceased actually travelled to Onitsha. The deceased’s daughter denied that her mother visited Onitsha at that time. The matter was reported to the police who after forcing the door of the deceased’s room open observed blood spots on the walls and also on some items found in the room. Also recovered in the room were two blood-stained matchets, one head tie and one bed sheet under a bed in the room which were also bloodstained. Appellant’s blood-stained knickers were also found in the room.. Also found in the premises of the deceased’s house was a grave which later turned out to be where the deceased was hurriedly buried.

Post mortem examination performed on the exhumed body revealed deep laceration on the right side of the neck and the cause of death was attributed to bleeding.

Although the appellant denied complicity in the brutal killing of his mother and controverted every allegation implicating him, he was convicted by the Judge and sentenced to death by hanging. Being dissatisfied with the conviction and sentence, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.