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Ubierho vs. State

OZANA UBIERHO

V

THE STATE

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI JSC ( Presided )

ALOYSIUS I. KATSINA-ALU JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

DENNIS ONYEJEFE EDOZIE JSC

IGNATIUS CHUKWUDI PATS-ACHOLONU JSC

GEORGE ADESOLA OGUNTADE JSC

SC. 54/2004

FRIDAY, 4TH FEBRUARY, 2005 

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confession - What is

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confessional statement - Assessment of quality of - Guiding principles

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confessional statement - Conviction of accused person upon - Propriety of - Desirability of evidence of circumstances which make it probable that the confession is true

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Confessional statement - When will sustain a conviction

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Murder - Cause of death Prosecution establishing - Whether a sine qua non to proof of murder

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Offence - Common intention of two or more accused persons to jointly prosecute an unlawful purpose - Consequence of on culpability of each participant


EVIDENCE - Commission of offence by two or more persons - When can be said to have been committed

EVIDENCE - Confession - Accused person’s confession - Accused may be convicted on his own confession

EVIDENCE -  Confession - Meaning of

EVIDENCE - Confession - What is

EVIDENCE - Murder cases - Prosecution establishing cause of death -  Whether prosecution must establish cause of death to prove its case

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Confession’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.              Whether the learned Justices were right in affirming the ruling of the trial court which rejected the no case submission made on behalf of 4th accused person.

2.              Whether on the totality of evidence adduced, the learned Justices were right in holding that prosecution proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.

3.              Whether the learned Justices were right in holding that the prosecution proved the culprit and cause of death of the deceased.

Facts:

The appellant along with seven others were arraigned before the Warri High Court on a one count charge of murder of one Miemie Uwarah, contrary to section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 48 Volume II, Laws of Bendel State of Nigeria, 1976. While four of the accused persons died in police custody, only four lived to face their trial. At the trial, after the prosecution had called four witnesses, counsel representing each of the four accused persons made a no case submission. In his ruling, the trial Judge discharged 1st to 3rd accused. The appellant testified in his own defence and called no witness. In his judgment, the trial Judge found him guilty of the offence of murder but because the appellant was under-aged at the time of his arrest for the offence, it was ordered that he be detained at the pleasure of the Military Administrator of Delta State.

The appellant appealed against his conviction. The Court of Appeal in its unanimous decision dismissed the appeal. He has further appealed to the Supreme Court.