BEST LAW REPORT SUBSCRIPTION PRICE!!

  • Chukwu vs. State
  • 270
  • 2005-08-01
  • ₦ 200
  • Buy Now

Chukwu vs. State

MARY CHUKWU

V

THE STATE

COURT OF APPEAL

( ENUGU DIVISION )

JOHN AFOLABI FABIYI JCA ( Presided )

CLARA BATA OGUNBIYI JCA (Read the Lead Judgment)

MONICA B. DONGBAN-MENSEM JCA

CA/E/37/2003

MONDAY, 28TH JUNE, 2004

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment - Procedure on - Duty on trial Judge to strictly comply with and to clearly record the fact of compliance on the record

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment - Procedure thereon - Non-compliance by trial Judge therewith - Effect of on trial, conviction and sentence of an accused person

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment - What consists of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment of accused persons -  Impact of section 33(6)(a) 1999 Constitution thereon - Meaning of phrase ‘in the language which he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence’ therein

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Murder case - Need to take the interest of all concerned and affected into consideration therein

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Valid arraignment of accused person - What constitutes same

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Retrial order - When will be made Proper order to make where trial a nullity

STATUTE - 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 33(6)(a) - Meaning of phrase ‘in the language which he understands and in details the nature of the offence’

Issues:

1.              Whether the trial, conviction and sentence of the accused was valid, in view of failure by the court below to comply with the express and mandatory provisions of section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Law and section 33(6)(a) of the 1979 Constitution on arraignment of an accused person before trial.

2.              Whether the trial Judge was right in convicting the accused person on conflicting statements to the police and testimony at the trial without satisfactory explanation of the conflicts.

3.              Whether the trial Judge correctly dealt with the defence of insanity put forward by the accused in her statements to the police and testimony at the trial, which appear not to have been investigated by the police.

Facts:

The appellant was charged, tried and convicted of the offence of murder punishable under section 319 of the Criminal Code Cap 36, Vol. II Laws of Eastern Nigeria, 1963 as applicable in Anambra State. The charge was to the effect that the appellant murdered one Priscilla Ibe at Eziama Nenwenta, Agwu in Enugu Judicial Division on the 13th day of July, 1983.

According to the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, on the morning of the incident, the appellant who lived very close to the deceased’s compound came to the premises from where she got to know that the deceased and her sister, Rita Ibe, PW5, were sent to the farm. The accused/ appellant sharpened her machete before she left the deceased’s house. The appellant thereafter traced the deceased to the farm, where she initially attacked the deceased’s younger sister, PW5 with the machete, which attack prompted the deceased’s intervention and a fight ensued between them during  which the appellant inflicted several machete cuts on the deceased until she died. The accused/appellant in her defence denied the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and put up the defence of insanity and asserted that she could not explain how she killed the deceased.

At the conclusion of the trial, the appellant was convicted and sentenced to death.

Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal. On appeal, it was contended on behalf of the appellant that her arraignment before the lower court was a nullity as the charge and nature of the offence was not interpreted to her in the language which she understands.