Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Monday sentenced two men, Kingsley Baba and Bashiru Musa to 21 years in prison each, for robbery.
The duo were charged by the Lagos State Government on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and armed robbery.
Delivering judgment during the virtual court proceedings, the judge found the defendants guilty as charged.
Justice Akintoye said that the evidences given by three prosecution witnesses established that a robbery was actually committed on Dec. 8, 2015.
“The evidence before the court substantiated that a robbery took place but not armed robbery.
“In this case there was no eye witness account to the offence of armed robbery as non of the prosecution witnesses saw the defendants with any weapon.
“Section 166 of the Adminstration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) provides that a person charged with an offence can be convicted and punished with another offence as if he was charged with that offence.
“Though the defendants did not take part in armed robbery but took part in robbery, they will be convicted on Section 295(1) and not Section 295(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
“The question here is whether the defendants took part in the robbery.
“The evidence before the court is that the second defendant (Musa) claimed to be asleep when the robbery took place despite the loud noises.
“I find it hard to believe that the second defendant slept all through the entire commotion, doors were broken and gun shot heard.
“The investigating police officer gave evidence that it was Musa who asked the first defendant (Baba) and others at large that they should try to rob his madam.
“It is my opinion that Musa did act in a manner to enable others to commit robbery.
“Also the confessional statement of the first defendant (Baba) stated that Musa aided in the robbery.
“The prosecution sufficiently linked the second defendant to the commission of the robbery.
“I hold that the second defendant is guilty of robbing Mrs Olutosin Abiola Oshinowo,” Akintoye said.
She however said that the prosecution could not prove the offence of robbery or armed robbery against the second defendant in count three with regards to armed robbery against one Desmond Wester.
Akintoye said that the prosecution, however, proved the offence of conspiracy to commit robbery against the first and second defendants.
She said evidence before the court stated that prior to the robbery, PW2(Victim) stated that she has seen the first and second defendants together in front of her house smoking Indian hemp.
The judge also said that the first defendant admitted in his statement that he discussed the robbery with the second defendant and one Emmanuel and Bright still at large.
“To my mind the complicity in the robbery has been established and the conspiracy to commit the robbery has also been established.
“The second defendant Bashiru Musa is found guilty of count two of robbery contrary to Section 295(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011 and he is not guilty of count three alone.
“The defendants are hereby convicted.
“I have listened to the plea of leniency made by the counsel to the defendants. However, the law does not allow for discretion on the part of the court for these offences as imprisonment for these offences must not be less than 21 years.
“I, therefore, sentence the first and second defendants on count one to 21 years imprisonment each, less their period of remand.
“The second defendant is sentenced to 21 years imprisonment on count two, less his period of remand. The sentence leveled on the second defendant shall run concurrently.
“On count three the second defendant is found not guilty. This is the sentence of this court,” Akintoye held.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that after the conviction of the defendants, their counsel, Mr Ahmad Adetola-Kazeem, urged the court to tamper justice with mercy.
He said that the defendants were first time offenders.
However, the Prosecutor, Mr Yussuf Sule, urged the court to use its discretion, adding that there was no previous record of conviction of the defendants.
The prosecution arraigned the defendants sometime in 2017 and they were remanded in the correctional centre.
According to the prosecution, the defendants had been in custody since 2015 after they were arrested.
Sule had said that the defendant committed the offence on Dec. 8, 2015, at 3:30a.m, at No.10 Samuel Oloje St., Purview Estate, Ajah, Lagos.
He said that the duo and others at large, robbed two people, one Mrs Olutosin Abiola Oshinowo and one Desmond Wester while armed with offensive weapons and stole a laptop, cash, jewellery and an ATM card.
The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 295(2)and 297 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.(NAN)