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  • 2014-02-28
  • SC.196/2011
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YAKUBU V STATE

SGT MONDAY YAKUBU
V
THE STATE
SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
 
WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN JSC (Presided)
MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAH MUNTAKA- COOMASSIE JSC
KUMAI BAYANG AKA’AHS JSC
K. M. OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN JSC (Read the Lead Judgment)
JOHN INYANG OKORO JSC
 
SC.196/2011
FRIDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2014
 
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Burden of proving guilt of accused - Duty on prosecution to prove - Standard of proof
required therefor - Accused - Whether required to establish his innocence - Evidence Act, section 140 considered
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Circumstantial evidence that will ground conviction - Nature of
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Conspiracy - What constitutes - What prosecution must prove to establish - Evidence sufficient theref or - Nature of - Court - Propriety of inferring from circumstances of the case
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Prosecution - Duty on to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt - When discharged - Evidence Act, 2011, section 139 considered
EVIDENCE - Burden of proving guilt of accused - Duty on prosecution to prove - Standard of proof required therefor - Accused - Whether  required to establish his innocence - Evidence Act, section 140 considered
EVIDENCE - Circumstantial evidence that will ground conviction - Nature of
STATUTE - Evidence Act, 2011, section 139 - Prosecution - Duty on to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt - When discharged
STATUTE - Evidence Act, section 140 - Guilt of accused - Duty on prosecution to prove - Standard of proof required therefor -
Accused - Whether required to establish his innocence
 
Issues:
1. Whether the learned justices of the court below were right to hold that the prosecution had proved a case of criminal
conspiracy against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
2. Whether the learned justices of the court below were right in holding that the failure of the learned trial Judge to fully comply
with the provisions of sections 191 and 235 of the Criminal Procedure Code has not rendered the entire trial a nullity.
 
Facts:
The appellant, a sergeant with the Nigerian Army was allegedly hired by the other accused persons to drive an army truck from Lagos State to a sawmill in Kogi State, where they stole a sewage machine and killed a security guard in the process. They were therefore arrested and arraigned in the High Court of Kogi State on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and armed robbery, punishable under sections 97(1), 221(a) and 298(b) of the Penal Code respectively.
The appellant was found guilty of criminal conspiracy only and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Not satisfied, the appellant filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal, where the appeal was dismissed. Dissatisfied still, the appellant filed a further appeal to the Supreme Court, challenging the lower court’s holding that the prosecution proved a case of criminal conspiracy against him.
In determining the appeal, the Supreme Court considered the following statute:
Penal Code, section 96 “When two or more persons agree to do or cause to be done:
a. An illegal act; or
b. An act which is not illegal by illegal means such an agreement is called conspiracy.”

Part 732