The conviction and sentencing of an alleged murder suspect in Kogi State by the High Court of the state has been annulled by the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The accused, one Abdulazeez Isah, was on February 14, 2013, sentenced to death for culpable homicide by the high court sitting at Ihima.
During the trial at the lower court, the prosecution had submitted that the accused, and two others, conspired and jointly killed the deceased person, Fulani Ize Amoda, with a machete on October 28, 2010. Isah (who is the second accused person) along with the first accused person were said to have confessed to the crime at the palace of the traditional ruler of Okaito and were subsequently arrested by the police and tried.
The accused, during the trial, had denied committing the offence, stating that he was not even at Okaito where the deceased was killed on that date, with his father (as a defense witness), confirming that the accused was not at the scene of the crime on the said date. He also denied confessing to the crime.
After hearing arguments from both parties, Justice Abubakar Datti Yahaya of the Court of Appeal, Abuja division ruled that “there is serious doubt that the accused caused the death of the deceased.”
He added that when there is such a doubt, the benefit must be given to the accused especially when there is no other evidence linking the accused to commission of the offense.
He adjudged the appeal as having merit and allowed it. He further ruled that the judgment of the High Court of Kogi State, sitting at Ihima delivered on February 14, 2013 convicting the accused (appellant) for conspiracy and culpable homicide and sentencing him to seven years and to death respectively, “is hereby set aside.
“I enter a judgment of not guilty. I discharge and acquit the appellant (accused) for the said offences with which he had been charged and convicted,” Justice Yahaya ruled.