20171104

Man Sentenced To Death In Akwa Ibom For Kidnapping

The Akwa Ibom High Court 2, Abak Division, has sentenced a middle aged man, Robinson Offiong, to death over the kidnap of one Mfon Tim on June 2, 2014 at Itung Abak in Abak area.

The court which was presided over by Justice Iniabasi Udobong held that the fact that the accused denied the statement he made to the police at the Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, did not have the weight to determine judicial decisions.

He said at the conclusion of trial-within-trial, the court overruled the objection by defense counsel and admitted the confessional statement as exhibit on May 23, 2016.

After review of evidence by parties, Justice Udobong pointed out that there were three ways to prove a case; it could be by eyewitness evidence, by circumstantial evidence and by confessional statement.

The judge further noted that all evidence by prosecution witnesses were hearsay, as none witnessed the incident. He agreed that the witness, Okorie, who reportedly witnessed the commission of the crime, did not testify as the prosecution reserves the right to choice of witness(es) and had set out from the beginning to rely on confessional statement of the accused to grant a conviction.

The judge differed with the defense on non-signing of the confessional statement by a superior police officer, saying that the requirement by the judges’ rule is an administrative one which cannot render the statement of the accused inadmissible.

Citing and relying on several Supreme Court authorities, and quoting directly from the confessional statement of Offiong, the judge, however, concluded that it is the confessional statement of the accused that linked him to the kidnapping.

Justice Udobong, accordingly, convicted the accused of the offence of kidnapping, charged under the Internal Security Law of Akwa Ibom State 2014, and sentenced him to death by hanging.

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