By Aliyu Dangida
RINGIM â€”Â A High Court sitting in Ringim, Jigawa State has sentenced ex-Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Abba Umar Kukuma and one Hamza Muhammad to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of killing two children, Abba Magaji and Aminu Bala aged three and four, respectively.
According to the presiding judge, Justice Ahmad Isa Gumel, the convicts committed the crime on 11 August 2009 at Zaranaiwa quarters, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State. They were subsequently arrested and charged to court for conspiracy and culpable homide in contravention of Sections 97 and 221 of the Criminal Procedure Code and punishable with death.
Court relies on circumstantial evidence
During the three-hour judgment, Justice Gumel said since the court had no direct evidence on culpable homicide, under Section 221 (b), it had to rely on the circumstantial evidence produced by the state counsel, who is the state Director of Public Prosecu-tion, DPP, Mr Sule Umar, to determine the case.
He held that the court was fully satisfied with the testimony of the seven witnesses and exhibits tendered in respect of the case, especially exhibits PI, PWI, PW2, PW3 and PW4.
He said based on the fact that the corpses of the deceased were found in the car belonging to the first accused in his garage, and the confessional statement by the second accused, Hamza Muhammad as well as the circumstantial evidence before the court, the court was satisfied and charged them accordingly.
The judge insisted that since there was direct evidence which proved conspiracy and culpable homicide beyond reasonable doubt, as well as the confessional statementÂ by the second accused to the police, the court had tempered justice with mercy and sentenced both to life imprisonment under Sections 218 and 222 of the Criminal Procedure Code which was a lesser sentence of a murder offence.
The convicts, however, have three months to file an appeal if they are not satisfied with the judgment.
Earlier in his submission, the lead state counsel, Mr Umar had submitted that the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits tendered in court especially exhibits P1, PW2, and PW3 were strong enough to form the basis upon which to convict the accused persons.
DPPâ€™s evidence weakâ€”Defense counsel
In his own submission counsel to the accused persons, Mr Adamu Abubakar, had prayed the court to disregard the submission of the DPP on circumstantial evidence and the evidence he mentioned which he argued were all weak.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the judgment, Mr Abubakar said, â€œthe court has done what it thought was right, and we are going to file an appeal at the Appeal Court in Kaduna within the next two days. Justice, as the saying goes, is a pregnant woman who nobody knows what she will deliver while the judgment shows what the pregnant woman has delivered.â€