By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Onozure Dania
Two years after his wife, Titilayo Akolade, a banker was murdered in cold blood, Justice Latifah Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court yesterday found Akolade Arowolo guilty of killing the deceased and subsequently sentenced him to death by hanging.
Earlier before the judgment, immediately Arowolo was brought to the court room, he knelt down in payer for about a couple of minutes apparently beseeching God to sway judgment in his favour.
But in a judgment that lasted for almost three and half hours, Justice Okunnu resolved all the three issues formulated by the court in favour of the prosecution.
The trial judge held that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt, hence her verdict.
The court which held that though there was no other person at the scene of the incidence apart from Akolade and his late wife however concluded that all evidences given in court pointed to the fact that no other person carried out the gruesome murder of the late banker, except her husband.
The murder was committed on June 24, 2011 at No 8, Akindehinde Street, Isolo, Lagos, while he was arraigned on July 7, 2011 at Yaba Magistrate court, before his case was transfered to the High Court. At the end of the trial, 15 witnesses testified in support of the prosecution, six persons, including the parents of the convict testified in his defence.
Justice Okunnu, who formulated three issues including whether indeed the deceased was dead; whether the accused person was responsible for the killing and whether he carried out the act intentionally, resolved all the issues against the convict.
According to the court both the evidences given by all the prosecution witnesses and that of the accused person, Akolade, showed that the deceased was murdered gruesomely and that the act was carried out by the convict intentionally.
Justice Okunnu who particularly relied on the evidences of both the parents of the deceased and that of the investigative team and the pathologists, concluded there was no iota of doubt that Akolade did murdered his wife.
Okunnu held, “ The prosecution succeeded in proving its case, the defendant is guilty and you hereby sentenced to death.”
Analyzing her judgment, to establish that Akolade formulated his defence out of the blues to the effect that the deceased stabbed herself to death, the Judge held: “No one else gained access into the apartment from when the defendant left on Friday to Sunday when the defendant’s brother went through the neighbours’ ceiling.
“This eliminates any outsider at the material point in time. The doctrine of last seen in law came into fore here. This means that the person last seen bears full responsibility for the death. It supports the proof already before the court. It supports the argument and adds probative value to the prosecution’s case. That shows it was the defendant who killed his wife.
“It is my finding that it is none other than the defendant himself who stabbed Omozoje to death. After eliminating all other options, I find that it was the defendant who stabbed his wife.
On whether the act was carried out intentionally, the court held: “Also the prosecution has the duty to prove that the defendant’s action was done intentionally as to desire the consequence of his action.
“I studied him and found him intelligent. He admitted that he did study logic and so he knew full well that grievous bodily harm was the consequence of his action. Her resultant death then turned to unlawful killing.
“The contradictions on what was found where and how by the prosecution witness does not remove from the offence of killing.
“His parents tried to debunk that domestic violence characterized the marriage, his mother tried to cover up his act and his father avoided questions put to him. This did not help his case.” She held.
Moment the judgment was handed down on the convict, he broke down in tears and rolling on the floor of the court, asking God to intervene in his case.
Akolade who wore a white short shirt matched with a black trousers and a shoe to match, held a bible with his chained hands, asking what becomes the future of his only child, Olamide.
Immediately after the judgment, the convict shouted “Jesus, my Lord” in court, broke into tears and started crying wondering what would happen to his daughter. He also called on his late wife to come and defend him.
Already, his lawyer, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajanaku has indicated his willingness to appeal the judgement of the court.
The court relied on the evidence of the pathologist on who killed the deceased.
She held quoting the pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa of LASUTH “On external examination I noticed fresh stab wounds caused by a sharp object. All this injuries could not have been self inflicted. Even if you were inflicting it on yourself you would have dropped the knife at some point. This is very damaging to the defendant.
“Tremendous force was used by the assailant to cause the wounds. He (Obafunwa) testified as to loads of defence wounds on the victim. The post mortem gives more details. The deceased stomach was torn open. It details wounds to the body as well as her clothing. He (Obafunwa) ruled out the possibility of fresh wounds after death or a case of tampering with the body.”
Subsequently, the Judge lambasted the convict’s parents and other defence witnesses, stating “the parents and other witnesses are not witnesses of truth.”