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MYLES JOHN ABBOTT, AG. F.C.J. (Presided and Read the Judgment of the Court)
LOUIS NWACHUKWU MBANEFO, FJ
ALEXANDER WILLIAM BELLAMY, AG. F.J.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – Murder – Accomplice evidence – Corroboration
EVIDENCE – Accomplice – Corroboration
Mr. M. Bello, Crown Counsel -for the Respondent.
Applicants absent and unrepresented.
[Sam Eleanya, Agboola Omolola Oluwafolakemi, Vincent Eleanya Kalu, Eleanya Ugochi Vine]
ABBOTT, AG. F.C.J. (Delivering the Judgment of the Court):
This matter came before us on the 27th July, 1959 in the form of an application by each of the two applicants for leave to appeal from his conviction for murder. On that date we refused leave to appeal and we now give our reasons for this decision. The two applicants were tried with three other persons, for the murder some three or four years ago, of one Onuoha Oroke.
This is another of the cases arising out of the activities of the Odozi Obodo Society which arrogated to itself the powers of the Courts of Law to apprehend and punish thieves and certain other offenders. The procedure adopted by the Society was that a suspected thief would be apprehended by some of the members and would be told that unless he paid money he would be killed. In some cases the persons apprehended were killed without any chance to redeem themselves – without any opportunity to pay money. In this particular case there was an accusation against the victim of the murder that he was a thief but it does not appear that he was given any chance to redeem himself by paying the money. The first witness for the prosecution – who was adjudged by the learned trial Judge to be an accomplice – implicated each of the applicants in the murder of the deceased. We are not prepared to differ from the learned trial Judge’s view of this witness and in any case so far as the two applicants are concerned the matter is not really of great importance because the fifth witness for the prosecution, who was clearly not an accomplice, gave evidence, which was accepted by the learned trial Judge, implicating both the applicants in the crime without any possibility of doubt.
We consider that the learned trial Judge was correct in the conclusions which he drew from the evidence of the accomplice, corroborated as it was completely so far as the two applicants are concerned by the evidence of the fifth prosecution witness. We considered therefore, that the conviction of these two men was right and we accordingly refused leave to appeal.
Leave to appeal refused.