HomeCourt room newsSibling Discharged and Acquitted of Killing His Brother in Lagos.

Sibling Discharged and Acquitted of Killing His Brother in Lagos.

Date:

On the 19th of January, 2024, Honourable Justice Ogala of the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja, discharged and acquitted one Chukwuma Njoku who stood trial for the alleged murder of his brother, Uchena Njokwu.

When Chukwuma was arraigned on the 8th of December, 2021, he had pleaded not guilty to the offence. During trial, the prosecution succeeded in calling a sole witness, the police officer who only received the case file from the primary police station where the offence was reported.

During cross-examination, the police officer had indicated that the cause of Uchena’s death is unknown. At the time when Chukwuma was charged to court, the postmortem report was not ready. Responding to further questions from Chukwuma’s counsel, Mr. Qudus Mumuney of DNL Partners, the police officer couldn’t give satisfactory responses to why there was no identification photograph of Uchena nor his death certificate before the court.

At the end of trial, after Chukwuma had testified in his defence explaining how he wasn’t at the crime scene on the alleged date his brother died, Mr. Mumuney urged the Court to discharge and acquit Chukwuma on the grounds that the Prosecution failed to establish the cogent elements of the offence of murder, primary being the unknown cause of Uchena’s death.

The Prosecutor, Mr. O. A. Azeez argued that the Prosecution had successfully proven it’s case against Chukwuma. He placed sole reliance on Chukwuma’s confessional statement which he had retracted during trial.

In delivering its judgment, the Court held that where the Prosecution fails to present a vital witness, their case would fall like a pack of cards. Also citing Section 135 of the Evidence Act, the Court held that the onus to prove the commission of a crime beyond reasonable doubt rests on the Prosecution and in Chukwuma’s case, the Prosecution failed to link him to the commission of the crime.

The Court agreed with Mr. Mumuney’s argument that lack of evidence to establish the elements of the offence of murder against Chukwuma is fatal to the Prosecution’s case. The court placed emphasis on the absence of cause of Uchena’s death. In conclusion, the court held that there was little or shallow investigation conducted by the Prosecution and Chukwuma was consequently discharged and acquitted.

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