Law News
S’Court affirms ex-employee’s life sentence for attempted murder

The Supreme Court has affirmed the life sentence passed on Kingsley Omoregie and Shina Oketaolegun for attempting to murder an engineer, Samuel Fakoya, in Ikoto-Ijebu, Ogun State, on August 27, 2002.

Fakoya was found dead in a sitting posture, with his hands tied to the railing of the stair case in his home, blood on his head and three stab wounds discovered on his chest, after the visit of the two men.

Omoregie, who was Fakoya’s former employee, was accompanied to his former boss’ home by Oketaolegun, purportedly to collect his salary arrears on the day the incident took place.

But the Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan which had commuted the offence of murder for which the accused persons were convicted and sentenced to death by an Ogun State High Court in Ijebu-Ode on March 7, 2005, to attempted murder, and as a result, reduced the death penalty passed on them to life imprisonment.

Justice Suleiman Galadima, who headed the apex court’s five-man panel and delivered its lead judgment, agreed with the Court of Appeal that the two men could not be convicted for murder since the medical report tendered by the prosecution attributed the cause of the deceased’s death to his medical condition.

The apex court, however, held that the infliction of grievous bodily harm on the deceased, using a knife to stab him, showed that the convicts attempted to murder him.

Two knives, the robe used to tie the deceased and the medical report indicating his cause of death were tendered as exhibits before an Ogun State High Court in Ijebu-Ode.

Justice Galadima held that though no one saw the convicts stab the deceased, the testimonies of the accused persons and the first Prosecution Witness, Aina Ibukunola Babatunde, who was a schoolteacher and the deceased’s neighbour, constituted cogent circumstantial evidence pinning them to the commission of the crime.

Few weeks before the incident took place, Omoregie was said to have managed to escape from members of the vigilante group, O’odua Peoples Congress, who had arrested him for stealing Fakoya’s bus.

Babatunde had testified that he was thus surprised when he sighted Omoregie in company with Oketaolegun entering the compound at about 3.30pm on the day of the incident.

He testified that he had immediately alerted the members of the OPC about what he saw. But before his return, the deceased had been killed, leaving the accused persons attempting to escape.

He explained that the OPC members, who had rounded up the house, later arrested the accused persons outside the compound.

An Ogun State High Court in Ijebu-Ode had, on March 7, 2005, sentenced both of them to death by hanging for conspiracy and murder of the deceased.

But the Court of Appeal in Ibadan, delivering judgment on the convicts’ separate appeals on April 14, 2008, commuted the offence of murder to attempted murder and the death penalty to life imprisonment.

The appellate court hinged its decision on the fact that the medical report tendered by the prosecution attributed the deceased’s death to “acute cardiac pulmonary failure due to diabetic and hypertensive condition” and not to stab wounds.

The lead judgment by Justice Galadima in the appeal separately filed by Oketaolegun, affirmed the verdict of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan.

Justice Galadima held, “The court below (the Court of Appeal) correctly reviewed the evidence led by both the prosecution and the defence, particularly the testimonies of PW1, DW1 and DW2 and rightly concluded that sections 320 and 325 of the Criminal Code respectively apply to circumstances of this case which warrant an interference with the verdict of the trial court. I agree that the appellant was appropriately found guilty of attempted murder or manslaughter.

“In the circumstance, the appeal is hereby dismissed. The judgment of the court below is hereby affirmed.”


Click here to read from source.