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FEDERAL SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA
23RD MAY, 1959.
BEFORE THEIR LORDSHIPS
MYLES JOHN ABBOTT, AG. F.C.J. (Presided)
LIONEL BRETT, F.J. (Read the Judgment of the Court)
LOUIS NWACHUKWU MBANEFO, F.J.
Applicant absent, not represented.
CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE:- Murder – Ingredients – How proved Defence of Provocation – Relevant considerations
MURDER WEAPON: Arrow
CHILDREN AND WOMEN LAW:- Women and Murder – Killing of a third party for adultery with wife of accused person – Serial seduction of wife and mockery of husband – Catching wife and paramour in adulterous act – Whether constitutes provocation for killing done subsequently with arrow – How considered
BRETT, F.J. (Delivering the Judgment of the Court):
The applicant was convicted by Smith, J., in the Northern Region High Court of the murder of one Manu Lariski.
It was accepted by the prosecution that the deceased had done the applicant a serious wrong. He had seduced the applicant’s wife and merely laughed at the applicant’s complaints. Subsequently, the applicant had found the deceased and his wife having intercourse together a second time. If, as the applicant maintained in his evidence at the trial, the applicant had killed the deceased on the spot the Court would have been justified in holding that the act was done in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation, and that by virtue of Section 318 of the Criminal Code the offence amounted only to manslaughter, but the Judge found, and the evidence as a whole amply justified the finding, that the applicant in fact followed the deceased and shot him with an arrow some time later. In the circumstances the Judge was bound to hold that the act of retaliation did not follow immediately on the act of provocation, and that the deceased had time for his passion to cool, and having come to this finding he had no course open to him but to convict the applicant of murder.
This Court could only dismiss the application for leave to appeal, but in giving our reasons for doing so we would wholeheartedly endorse the comments made by Smith, J., on the circumstances surrounding the murder.