BY BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
Lagos – Three mid-dle-aged men, Kingsely Akhabue, Fabian Matthew and Ismaila Fatoki, were, yesterday, found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to death by hanging by a Lagos High Court.
The court in its judgment, held that the prosecution had succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubts, that the accused persons were guilty of conspiracy and armed robbery, carried out sometimes in March 22 and March 23, 2008, at Igando area of Lagos State.
Justice Mojisola Dada, trial judge in the matter, held that in line with Section 367 (1) of the Criminal Code Law, the punishment for armed robbery upon conviction was death by hanging, saying: “the sentence of this court is that you should be hanged by the neck until you are dead and may the Lord have mercy on your souls.”
Although the court noted that there were discrepancies in the case of the prosecution and the statement of the accused persons, but added that such discrepancies were not enough to affect the substance of the case against the accused persons.
“Even the prosecution did not specifically identify their (accused persons) meeting point, but conspiracy can be identified from the facts of this case. There is evidence before the court that they met before and after the robbery or series of robberies, where they smoked Indian hemp.
“In this case, I hold that there is a lot of credibility on the side of the prosecution than that of the accused persons. In the instance case, the accused persons made voluntary confession, and the evidences of PW1, PW2 were direct and positive,” the court held.
The court said that it had been fully established that there was armed robbery, adding that the fact that the weapons used in the robbery operations were not tendered in court was not sufficient enough to rule otherwise.
Though the accused persons, claimed that they made their statements to the police under duress, the court held that there was nothing sacrosanct about the retraction of a confession allegedly made to the police.
“The fact that the accused persons said they made the statements under torture did not mean the court cannot act upon it, when there are other evidences before the court,” the court held.