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  • 2003-10-06
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State vs. Oladimeji

THE STATE

V

MOSHOOD OLADIMEJI

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MUHAMMADU LAWAL UWAIS, CJN ( Presided )

UTHMAN MOHAMMED, JSC

ANTHONY IKECHUKWU IGUH, JSC

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment ) DAHIRU MUSDAPHER, JSC

SC. 16/2002

FRIDAY, 11TH JULY, 2003

COURT - Issues - Whether court competent to raise suo motu - Where raised suo motu - Duty of court

COURT - Traditional and constitutional role of being an umpire - Need for court to guard against abandonment thereof

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment - Fundamental nature of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Common intention to commit felony -  Murder resulting therefrom - Liability therefor

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Common intention to commit robbery with violence - Liability for murder resulting therefrom

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Common intention to prosecute an unlawful purpose - Liability therefor

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Murder - Precise act of a particular accused person that directly caused the death of deceased - Proof of -  Whether necessary where accused persons acted in concert

EVIDENCE - Proof - Precise act of a particular accused person that directly caused the death of deceased - Proof of -whether necessary where accused persons acted in concert

Issues:

1.            Whether it is right for the Court of Appeal to raise the issue of plea and arraignment under section 215 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30 Vol. 11 Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 1978 suo motu without hearing argument from the two parties upon which it relied heavily to quash the respondent’s conviction.

2.            Whether, having regard to the circumstances of this case the prosecution must prove that the act of the respondent alone must cause the death of the deceased before the respondent’s conviction could be affirmed.

Facts:

The respondent along with four others, were arraigned before the High Court of Justice, Oyo State, holden at Ibadan, charged with the offence of the murder of one Agboola Aina punishable under section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30 Volume II, Laws of Oyo State of Nigeria, 1978. At the conclusion of hearing the respondent was on the 13th day of October, 1998  found guilty but convicted of the lesser offence of manslaughter. He was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 41/2 years, while the rest of the accused persons were acquitted and discharged.

The conviction of the respondent was, on appeal, quashed by the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division. This was on the question of plea and arraignment of the respondent which were raised suo motu by the Court of Appeal without giving any opportunity to the parties to address the courts on those points. It is against this decision of the Court of Appeal that the appellant, has appealed to this court.