Man Sentenced to Death by Hanging

Funke Olaode

A Lagos Special Offences Court in Ikeja has convicted and sentenced Emmanuel Iwuno to death by hanging for armed robbery of Toyota Highlander, smartphone and money. Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe yesterday also sentenced the convict to 21 years imprisonment after finding him guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery.

The Judge held that the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the ingredients of the two-count charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery against the convict.

The state had charged Iwuno with conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery contrary to Sections 299  and 297(2) (a) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2015.

The first prosecution witness and victim of the robbery, Obinna Mbah, had told the court that on March 8, 2020, he was approached by four men who robbed him of his car in Thomas Onyemachi Street, Afromedia Junction in Okokomaiko area of Lagos.

Mbah told the court that one of the men, covering his face with a mask, had forced him to lay down on the ground, threatened him with a gun and took his Infinix phone and money while the other robbers drove away in his car.

He told the court that the other two robbers sped away in a motorcycle shortly after the first set drove away his car.

The witness said he entered a commercial motorcycle, and alongside other motorcycle riders, chased the robbers.

The Judge held that Mbah appeared truthful and that both his oral evidence and the written statement he gave the police maintained the elements of his story.

Abike-Fadipe held that Iwuno had also written a police statement where he said one of the robbers on the motorcycle fired the gun to disperse people.

According to the police statement, Iwuno said he was driving the stolen car and eventually crashed into a kiosk as he wanted to avoid killing a member of the public as he drove away from the scene of the armed robbery.

The Judge held that the police statement of the convict tendered by the prosecution was also confessional to the crime and matched the occurrence of the incident from the nominal complainant.

Although the convict denied writing the statement and thumb-printing on it, he had told the court that the police arrested him while he was at a Tea shop in the area of the robbery because he wore the same clothes as the suspect.

The Justice questioned why the convict did not call either his wife or the tea vendor as witnesses in his defence.

Justice Abike-Fadipe held that while there is no obligation on the convict to bring evidence to prove himself not guilty of the crime, Iwuno had a strong case against him and needed to go out and make a case to defend himself.

The prosecution, led by Adebanke Ogunode, told the court that ammunition (cartridges), including that of a locally made cut-to-size single-barrel pistol, were found in the car upon its crash.

Abike-Fadipe said she found that the prosecution proved that the convict conspired to commit robbery.

She held that while the convict may not have pulled the gun on the witness himself, he is liable to the charge for being a participant.

The Judge said the defence counsel, C. E. Anaelugwu, had earlier submitted that there was no eyewitness to the crime, and the prosecution only relied on the witness of the complainant.

She held that in criminal cases, the prosecution is meant to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and not beyond all shadow of doubt.

The Judge sentenced the convict to 21 years imprisonment on the count of conspiracy to commit robbery and sentenced him to death by hanging on the count of armed robbery.

The prosecution called three witnesses, including the complainant, while the defence counsel called only the defendant.

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