Appeal Court Quashes Death Sentence on 3 over Murder

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By Amby Uneze

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo Sate has discharged and acquitted three accused persons charged for murder of one Chidi Nwosu who was murdered in his house at Amaeke Abam Village in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State by unknown gunmen on the night of December 29, 2010.

The Appellants, Oti Uka Awo, Chimezie Awa and Samson Ngozi Atum had in a judgment of the High Court of Abia State in Charge No. HAR/2c/2012 delivered on September 22, 2014 by Justice C.U. Okoroafor been convicted (along with other accused persons) for murder and sentenced to death by hanging.

The Appellants through their counsel, J.C. Uwandu, urged the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment of the lower court by quashing the conviction, acquit and discharge his clients, stating that the prosecution never proved the guilt by confessional statement; circumstantial evidence or evidence of an eye witness as required by law.

Uwandu also contended that the ingredients of murder were not proved by the prosecution against the Appellants; the evidence of the prosecution against the Appellants did not meet the standard of proof in a criminal proceeding; the evidence surrounding the circumstances were not cogent, compelling and did not in any way however pin down the Appellants as the persons who caused the death of the deceased.

He, however, appealed to the court to discharge and acquit his clients for lack of merit to the judgment of the lower court, stating that there was no cogent, positive, and credible evidence in the case upon which the conviction was based.

According to Uwandu, the evidence led by the prosecution in the cases were contradictory, conflicting and inconsistent and did not point irresistibly to the accused persons.

Delivering their judgments, Justices R.C. Agbo, I.G. Mbaba and I.A. Andenyangtso in the Appeal No. CA/OW/382c, 476c, 81c/2017 delivered on July 23, 2020 noted that after hearing J.C. Uwandu, Esq, Counsel for the Appellants ordered that the Appeal had merit and therefore set aside judgment of the lower court.

“It is ordered that the appeal has merit and same is hereby allowed. The judgment of the trial Court delivered on September 22, 2014 in charge No. HAR/2C/2012; The State vs the Appellants is hereby set aside.

“The conviction and sentence of the Appellants are hereby quashed. The information arraigning the Appellants at the lower court is hereby discharged. The Appellant is hereby acquitted and discharged and is hereby ordered to be forthwith released from custody”, the ruling stated.