Appeal Court acquits man of murder charge

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BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE

BENIN—THE Court of Ap-peal sitting in Benin, Edo State, has set aside the judgment of an Edo State High Court, Benin, which sentenced one Mr. Clifford Owubu to death by hanging over the murder of one Kate Okoduwa in Uromi, Esan North- East Local Government Area of the state in 2007.

In a unanimous decision, the appellate court, in the lead judgment read by Justice Hamma Barka, also discharged and acquitted the convict.

It will be recalled that Mr. Owobu was arrested and tried for the murder of Kate Okoduwa, who was found dead on Omotuemen Street Uromi, after attending a burial ceremony with the deceased on the day she met her death. He was convicted on the ground that he was the last person seen with her.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the lower court, the appellant went to the appellate court through his counsel, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, who formulated two issues for determination.

The issues were: “Having regard to the evidence on record that the deceased stayed behind when the appellant left the burial ceremony with his cousin and his own girl friend and in the absence of any evidence that the appellant was seen again with the deceased before her death, whether the conviction of the appellant can be sustained on the principle that the deceased was last seen with the appellant.

“Whether the trial court was right when it ignored the defence of the appellant and held that the appellant’s story is a web of lies.”

The appellate court in its judgment held that it did not find cogent evidence that the appellant and no one else committed the murder, leading undisputedly to his guilt.

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