Court discharges, acquits Shokogayi Tegbedaye of alleged culpable homicide for lack of evidence

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By Dada Ahmed in Ilorin

The High Court of Justice sitting in Lokoja,Kogi State has charged and acquitted Shokogayi Tegbedaye, standing trial for alleged culpable homicide for want of evidence.

Ruling in the case, the Presiding Judge and the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasiru Ajanah,said  that there was no enough prosecutorial evidence to continue with the trial of the defendant.

Ajanah said “Two witnesses were called by the prosecution, they were not able to lead evidence to prove any of the essential ingredients required in the offence of this nature.”

The particulars of the offence in the matter with suit number HCL/66/2019 alleged that the defendant shot and caused the death of one Jonathan Joshua on September 11, 2019 thereby committing culpable homicide contrary to section 221(a) of the penal code which is punishable with death.

The presiding Judge noted that it was difficult to link the purported death of the said deceased to the defendant as there was neither proof of anybody’s death nor evidence before the court to indicate that the defendant committed the offence.

“There is no proof that anybody died as there was no medical report that such happened nor can one unilaterally determine what the cause of death is.

“There is no evidence linking the defendant with the commission of the offence as the two witnesses that testified were not eye witnesses but Police Officers that carried out investigation and were only narrating what they were told.

” In the circumstance, it becomes impossible to proceed against the defendant as there is no further evidence to be given by the prosecution,” he added.

The prosecution had told the court that the defendant caused the death of one Jonathan Joshua at Asawa village, Lokoja Local Government Area, within the Kogi State judicial division with a Dane gun.

But the Chief Judge observed that there was no proof of death in the evidence before the court.

Emphasizing on the value of evidence and its proof, Ajanah said: “The prosecution that alleges the commission of the said offence is saddled with the task of proving it beyond reasonable doubt.

” The Defendant in a criminal trial is not obliged to enter any defence unless there is a prima facie case established against him. I am, therefore, inclined to agree with the prosecution that the defendant is entitled to be discharged of the offence leveled against him.”

The Chief Judge also noted that the defendant the defendant had spent months in detention illegally.

“In order to ensure that the defendant does not face any double jeopardy in this case by a likely further prosecution, especially after spending up to four months unjustifiably in detention, I hereby make an order discharging and acquitting him for want of evidence.

The defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted on the offence of Culpable Homicide punishable with death.”

The Chief Judge commended Deputy Director of Public Prosecution of the Kogi State Ministry of Justice, saying she was a prosecutor in the temple of justice and not a persecutor.

“After listening to learned Deputy Director of Public prosecution, I must say, as always, that I am impressed with her candour and uprightness in proving to the court that she is an officer in the temple of justice and a prosecutor not a persecutor.”

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