The Supreme Court on Thursday in Abuja fixed April 14 to deliver judgment in a murder appeal filed by a police officer, Olusegun Adegboye.
Justice Mohammed Tanko led the five-member panel of justices that fixed the date after listening to submissions by counsel to the parties.
Henry Omu, counsel to the appellant, urged the apex court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ibadan, that upheld the conviction of Mr. Adegboye.
Mr. Omu prayed the court to substitute the death sentence with an order of acquittal and discharge.
The appellant’s counsel said that his client did prove that his official AK47 riffle accidentally killed Tunde Adegboyega after the deceased attempted to snatch it.
Mr. Omu urged the court to determine whether the justices of the court of appeal were right to have relied on the evidence of two witnesses to uphold the judgment of the trial court.
He also asked the court to determine whether the lower court was right to have affirmed the conviction and sentence of the appellant in spite of the fundamental contradictions by the prosecution.
Mr. Omu asked whether if such contradictions depicted in the case of the prosecution ought not to have been resolved in favour of the appellant.
He further urged the court to decide whether it was right for the lower court to uphold the judgment of the trial court when the prosecution failed to disprove the appellant’s defence.
The appellant contended that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond reasonable doubt to justify him being condemned to death.
Mr. Omu said the entire gamut of the trial had not met all the essential ingredients of the offence of murder.
According to him, before a person becomes fully liable for killing another, the later must have died.
Mr. Omu therefore said that there was no legal permissible justification for the lower court to affirm the conviction and sentence of the appellant considering the totality of the evidence and circumstances of the case.
He said that the death penalty passed on his client was unsupportable in law, adding that the conviction was against the weight of evidence and miscarriage of justice.
“I am humbly urging the court to graciously allow the appeal and to set aside the conviction and sentence of the appellant.
“We are also praying the court to in its place make order discharging and acquitting the appellant.
“The major reason is that the lower court placed too much weight on the uncorroborated evidence of two witnesses and the official AK47,” he said.
On his part, Olumide Ayeni, the Attorney-General of Ogun, and counsel to the state did not object to the appeal.
Mr. Ayeni in his submission urged the court to consider Section 271 of the Criminal Code Law of Ogun State. 2006.
According to him, that portion of the law mandated a peace officer or a police officer to shoot and kill a criminal offender trying to escape from justice.
“My Lords, I shall at this point allow the court to use its discretion in serving justice, but in determining this case, Section 271 of our code should be considered,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on March 10, 2009 the appellant in company of other Special Anti-Robbery Squad went to arrest Adegboyega at Oloke-Alli Village in Ogun.
This was in response to a petition filed to the Area Command by Titilayo Odusanya on threat to his life by the deceased.
On getting to the village, the deceased was arrested by Michael Agboola, an inspector, and handed over to Hamza, a corporal, and the appellant.
It was alleged that the deceased had attempted to escape after which struggle ensued between them.
NAN further reports that the appellant’s evidence-in-chief indicated that it was at the point of that struggle that his AK47 riffle discharged a shot that killed Mr. Adegboyega.