Ingredients of the Offence of Abduction

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 CASE DETAILS: VINCENT ANTHONY KACHEBRY v. THE STATE

LEAD JUDGMENT BY: JAMES SHEHU ABIRIYI, J.C.A.

PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

FACTS OF THE CASE

This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Taraba State, Jalingo.

According to the prosecution, PW1’s daughter, who was staying with the wife of the Appellant, on 5th June, 2009, delivered a live baby by Caesarean Operation and was discharged from the clinic after seven days. PW1, who was with the daughter the following day, 6th June, 2009, did not see the baby. The Appellant’s wife told him that the daughter had a stillbirth. Two weeks after, the PW1 heard that the Appellant’s wife had given birth to a baby. He became suspicious and reported to the police that the child the Appellant’s wife said she gave birth to, was his daughter’s child which the Appellant’s wife had told him was stillborn.

In his defence, the Appellant said he got to know PW1’s daughter when his wife was in Mutum Biyu. He did not object to PW1’s daughter staying with his wife. According to the Appellant, he married on 15th November, 2008. In January 2009 when his wife said she was not feeling fine, he took her to the hospital. She was tested and found to be pregnant. Because of this he had to get a house for the wife at Mutum Biyu where she was working. The wife was already pregnant before she met PW1’s daughter.

The matter was tried before the High Court, where Appellant and his wife were charged with offences of criminal conspiracy and abduction of a new born baby, contrary to Sections 97(1) and 273 of the Penal Code. Appellant was convicted and sentenced to a fine of N3,000 or three months imprisonment in default on count one and three years imprisonment plus a fine of N3, 000, on count two. Dissatisfied, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUE(S) FOR DETERMINATION:

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The Court of Appeal considered whether the prosecution had proved the offences for which the Appellant was tried and convicted, beyond reasonable doubt.

DECISION OF THE COURT

In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and quashed the conviction and sentence of the Appellant.

RATIO DECIDENDI

  • EVIDENCE – BURDEN OF PROOF/STANDARD OF PROOF –Burden and standard of proof in criminal cases; whether the burden of proof on the prosecution can shift to the accused person.
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF CONSPIRACY– Ingredients of the offence of conspiracy; Whether it can be inferred from surrounding facts and circumstances.
  • CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF ABDUCTION– Ingredients of the offence of abduction. 

Full Citation: MR. VINCENT ANTHONY KACHEBRY v. THE STATE (2019) LPELR-46453(CA).

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