After several months in detention, a 40-year-old man Shokogayi Tegbedaye, accused of killing one Jonathan Joshua in September 2019 has been discharged and acquitted by a Kogi State High Court presided over by Justice Nasiru Ajanah.
Tegbedaye who was standing trial for culpable homicide was accused of killing the deceased with a Dane gun on 11th September, 2019.
It was gathered that the alleged offence is contrary to section 221(a) of the penal code which is punishable with death.
The particulars of the offence in the matter with suit number HCL/66/2019 according to the State Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah ruled that there was not enough prosecutorial evidence to continue with the trial of the defendant.
Justice Ajanah observed that “two witnesses were called by the prosecution and they were not able to lead evidence to prove any of the essential ingredients required in the offence of this nature.”
Justice Ajanah noted that it was difficult to link the purported death of the said deceased to the defendant as there was neither proof of anybody’s death nor evidence before the court to indicate that the defendant committed the offence.
“There is no proof that anybody died as there was no medical report that such happened nor can one unilaterally determine what the cause of death is.
“There is no evidence linking the defendant with the commission of the offence as the two witnesses that testified were not eyewitnesses but Police Officers that carried out investigation and were only narrating what they were told. In the circumstances, it becomes impossible to proceed against the defendant as there is no further evidence to be given by the prosecution.
“The prosecution that alleges the commission of the said offence is saddled with the task of proving it beyond reasonable doubt. The Defendant in a criminal trial is not obliged to enter any defense unless there is a prima facie case established against him. I am therefore inclined to agree with the prosecution that the defendant is entitled to be discharged of the offence leveled against him.
“In order to ensure that the defendant does not face any double jeopardy in this case by a likely further prosecution, especially after spending up to four months unjustifiably in detention, I hereby make an order discharging and acquitting him for want of evidence. The Defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted on the offence of Culpable Homicide punishable with death,” Justice Ajanah ruled.
Credit: Daily Post