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Ibadan Appeal Court dismisses appeal on robbery case

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
31 December 2019   |   4:12 am
The Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan has dismissed the appeal filed by Samuel Oluwafunmileyi Okunaya over the judgment delivered by Ogun State High Court...

The Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan has dismissed the appeal filed by Samuel Oluwafunmileyi Okunaya over the judgment delivered by Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta, which convicted him of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The lower court had, in a judgment delivered on December 2016, convicted him of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and sentenced him to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour.

But dissatisfied with the judgment in the suit marked AB\11R\201, the appellant through his counsel, Mr. Oluwole Kehinde, filed notice of appeal on three grounds, arguing that the prosecution has duty to establish the offence charged in tandem with the law before it can secure conviction.

He further argued that the appellant’s extra judicial statement does not constitute a confessional statement.

“The appellant did not confess to giving information to DW1, DW2 and others at large on the instant charge and therefore, his conviction by the trial court is erroneous.”

The state counsel (respondent) however submitted that the trial court rightly inferred and connected the facts together when it relied on exhibit 3 as well as the evidence of PW1 to PW5 to arrive at the irresistible conclusion that the appellant conspired with others to commit the crime.

While delivering judgment, the three-man panel comprising Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani, Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo and Justice Folashade Ayodeji Ojo, held that “it is clear that what constitutes a confessional statement is a matter of fact and not law.

“A trial court thus has a duty to scrutinize the extra judicial statement made by an accused person to ascertain whether he has in direct, positive and equivocal terms admitted the commission of the offence which he was charged.

The court further held that the trial judge, who saw, heard and watched the demeanor of the witness, believed the evidence of PW3 and PW4 and concluded that the real intent of the appellant during his visit to the locus criminis (a place where the crime was committed, scene) was to spy for his gang.

The court further held that the respondent proved the offence of conspiracy against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and consequently dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.

“I hereby dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta.