[PDF copy of this judgment can be sent to your email for N300 only. Just order through firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or text 07067102097]
GABRIEL OSE ASABA
FEDERAL SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
8TH OCTOBER, 1959.
BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS
SIR ADETOKUNBO ADEMOLA, F.C.J. (Presided and Read Lead Judgment)
LIONEL BRETT, F.J.
LOUIS NWACHUKWU MBANEFO, F.J.
Applicant absent, not represented.
Mr. B. A. ADEDIPE, Senior Crown Counsel – for the Respondent.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – Murder – Mockery and Jeers over skin condition taunted as leprousy – Whether evidence of legal provocation
MURDER WEAPON: Matchet
HEALTHCARE LAW: – Access to heathcare – Undiagnosed and untreated skin condition of young man – Lack of access to treatment due to poverty – Perceived mockery and jeers arising from same – Effect thereof
ELDERS LAW: – Elderly persons and access to decent housing/accommodation arrangements – Elderly grandmother sharing sleeping room with 4 other persons including a young man with untreated skin conditions – Murder in the middle of the night – Implication for justice administration
CHILDREN AND WOMEN LAW: – Women as direct/indirect victims of crime – Women and Housing – Women and Health – Grandmother killed while asleep on a mat beside her daughter and grand-daughter in the same room with killer and his mother – Accused person dealt machete blows on sleeping grandmother for allegedly jeering at his skin condition – Effect of poor/inadequate housing or accommodation arrangements on security and dignity of the lives and wellbeing of women
ADEMOLA, F.C.J. (Delivering the Judgment of the Court):
On the 2nd October, 1959, we dismissed the application made by Gabriel Ose Asaba for leave to appeal. We hereby give our reasons for doing so having indicated we shall give our reasons later.
The applicant was on the 17th August, 1959, in the High Court at Akure in the Western Region, condemned to death for the murder of one Ishande Ojomo (f).
The case against the applicant was that the deceased, an elderly woman, was sleeping on a mat in the applicant’s room. Her grown-up daughter and her grand-daughter slept beside her. The applicant slept on a bed in the same room. His mother slept in a room nearby. At night the applicant got up and dealt several deadly matchet blows on the deceased who was lying on her mat. He then raised the alarm. His own mother ran away; those who stood in his way were dealt with; in all two others were severely wounded. He then ran away and was later caught with the blood-stained matches.
To the Police, the applicant made a statement in which he confessed he killed the deceased. At the trial he gave evidence stating he killed the deceased because she and her children and his own mother were in the habit of jeering at him that he was a leper; that his mother would not arrange for his treatment and he had that night got out his matchet to threaten her. When he shouted and wanted to go to his mother’s room, he alleged, the deceased seeing him with a matchet struck him with a stick; thereupon he attacked the deceased and killed her.
The learned trial Judge did not believe the deceased was in the habit of jeering at the applicant and that she would not have slept in the applicant’s room if she was in the habit of mocking him. Further, that the applicant, although he was suffering from a skin disease, was not a leper. It would appear that the applicant had a belief that one Tunde (9th witness for the Crown) inflicted the disease on him and he was [waiting] for him that night to kill him, but his mother persuaded him not to go out so late at night.
Like the learned trial Judge, we do not think the applicant had a defence to the charge; he was rightly found guilty of the offence. We therefore refused his application.