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FEDERAL SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
27TH OCTOBER, 1956
BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS:
OLUMUYIWAJIBOWU, Ag. F.C.J. (Presided)
M.C. NAGEON DE LESTANG, F.J.
PERCY CYRIL HUBBARD,Ag. F.J. (Read the Judgment of the Court)
Applicant not represented.
C.O. MADARIKAN, Esq, Crown Counsel -for the Respondent.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE: – Murder – How proved – Provocation – When murder is deemed to result from “Sudden provocation” within the meaning of Section 318 of Criminal Code – Relevant considerations
FAMILY LAW: – Separation of married couple under customary law – Failure to pay back dowry to husband – Whether entitles husband to enforced return of wife
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – APPEAL: – Leave of court to appeal – Ground for grant thereof
CHILDREN AND WOMEN LAW: – Wife-Killing – Wife confessing to being in love with another man who was ready to marry her – Whether being greatly provoked is the same thing as ‘sudden provocation’ required under the law to reduce offense of murder to manslaughter
CHILDREN AND WOMEN LAW: –Women and Customary law practices – Marriage under customary law – Wife’s desertion – Failure to repay dowry to husband – Whether entitles husband to enforced return of wife – Quarrel arising therefrom leading to murder of wife – How treated
HUBBARD, Ag., F.J. (Delivering the Judgment of the Court):
This was an application for leave to appeal against a conviction for murder, which we refused on 19th October, 1956.
The learned Judge has set out the facts of the case very clearly in his judgment, and has quoted verbatim a passage from the evidence given before him by the accused, in which he admits killing the deceased, who was his wife.
The deceased had run away from him. As he could not obtain the return of the dowry, he wanted his wife back. He went to fetch her and on the way back a quarrel occurred, in which she told him that she loved another man, whom the accused already knew her uncle wanted her to marry. She then refused to come any further with him. He became very angry and killed her. The accused was no doubt greatly provoked, but there was no “sudden provocation” within the meaning of section 318 of the Criminal Code which would reduce the offence to manslaughter. We were, accordingly, of opinion that the accused was rightly convicted of murder.
JIBOWU, AG. F.C.J.: I concur.
DE LESTANG, F.J.: I concur.