(1975) JELR 46198 (SC)    

Supreme Court  ·  SC.35/74 ·  28 Nov 1975 ·  Nigeria
Other Citations
ABIEKE & ANOR. v. THE STATE (1975) 9-11 S.C. (REPRINT) 60
DARNLEY A.R. ALEXANDER Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria ATANDA FATAYI - WILLIAMS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria GEORGE S. SOWEMIMO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria
Core Terms Beta
1st appellant
learned trial judge
accused persons
2nd accused
circumstantial evidence
alobu otagbara
knowledge of the whereabouts of echem
reasonable doubt
see r. v
2nd october
2nd september
approach of the learned trial judge
central state
contradictory statements of the appellants
cross river
deceased echem otagbara
different places
direct evidence of a killing
earliest opportunity
elementary proposition
following account of the circumstances of the disappearance
following morning
hearing of the appeal
leading judgment
mr. f.o. akinrele
murder of echem otagbara
own account of the circumstances
pidgin english
prosecution witnesses
rational basis
said statements
sentences of the appellants
strong suspicion of the guilt of the appellants
testimony of alobu otagbara
trial judge
whole case

ALEXANDER, C.J.N. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): The appellants were the accused in Charge No. AB/51C/73. They were tried in the High Court of the East - Central State sitting at Abakaliki for the murder of Echem Otagbara and were convicted and sentenced to death on 17th December, 1973. On 2nd October, 1975, we allowed the appeal, set aside the convictions and sentences of the appellants and ordered that they be acquitted and discharged. We now give our reasons for allowing their appeals.

The learned trial Judge said in his judgment that "the whole case against the accused persons was founded on circumstantial evidence which counsel submitted was not cogent enough." He also pointed out "that there is no evidence to the effect that the accused persons actually killed the deceased." Indeed, at the hearing of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellants, Mr. F.O. Akinrele, in a few brief submissions based on his ground of appeal clearly demonstrated that the evidence at the trial d…

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