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Nsofor vs. State

1.      DANIEL NSOFOR

2.      ETHELBERT ALAEGBU

V

THE STATE

COURT OF APPEAL

( BENIN DIVISION )

BABAALKALI BA’ABA, JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

SAKA ADEYEMI IBIYEYE, JCA

KUMAI BAYANG AKAAHS, JCA

CA/B/292/98

FRIDAY, 8TH MARCH, 2002

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Alibi - Defence of Alibi - Where raised by the accused - Prosecution’s failure to investigate same Effect

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Alibi  - Defence of - When and how to raise same

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Alibi  - Defence of - When raised Nature of alibi - Duty of power to investigate

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confession - Accused’s statement -

When becomes confessional

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confession - Meaning of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Conviction - Accused’s confession - Whether can solely form the basis of conviction

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confession - Voluntary confession of guilt - Whether can solely warrant conviction - Need for some corroborative evidence to support the confession

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Statement of accused - Objection to the admissibility of - Where merely denies the making of the statement on its being read over to accused - Effect - Whether trial within trial can only be conducted where voluntariness or otherwise of  confessions is questioned

EVIDENCE - Admissibility -Accused’s statement - Objection to the admissibility of - Where merely denies the making of the statement on its being read over to accused - Effect - Whether trial within trial can only be conducted where voluntariness or otherwise of confessions is questioned

EVIDENCE - Relevancy - Relevant Evidence - Whether can be excluded on technicality ground of how it was discovered and produced WORDS AND PHRASES -  ‘Confession’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.            Did the alleged confessional statements of the appellants (exhibit ‘A’ in the case of 1st appellant and exhibit ‘E’ in the case of 2 nd appellant), satisfy the requisite legal test as to be admissible and credible enough for the Judge to base his verdict of guilt on them?

2.            Were the offences charged against the appellants proved beyond reasonable doubt ?

3.            Did the defence of alibi avail the appellants?

Facts:

At the Edo State High Court holden at Benin, the appellants were, along with Friday Aigbedion and Uchechukwu Ehieze (alias Emeka), charged with the conspiracy to murder one Maria Imariagbe contrary to section 324 (1)  of the Criminal Code Cap. 48 volume 11, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria, 1976  as applicable in Edo State.

On the second, appellants, along with Friday Aigbedion and

Uchechukwu Ehieze (alias Emeka), were charged with the murder of one Maria Imariagbe, contrary to section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code Cap. 48 volume 11, Laws of Bendel state of Nigeria, 1976 as applicable in Edo State. The case was heard by Idahosa, J, who on 19/6/96, in a reserved judgment found the appellants guilty of conspiracy to murder on count 1 and murder on count 2 and sentenced the appellants to death accordingly.

Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal