CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF MURDER – Ingredients of the offence of murder; Ways of proving the offence of murder


“…I agree with the submission of Mr. Somiari of counsel for the Respondent at page 4 paragraph 5.03 of his brief of argument that to successfully establish the offence of murder against an accused person, the prosecution must prove the following ingredients beyond reasonable doubt to wit:- (a) That the deceased is dead. (b) That the act of the accused person caused the death of the deceased and (c) That the act was done with the intention of causing death or grievous bodily harm. See Njoku v State (2013) 2 NWLR (pt 1339) 543, Uguru v State (2002) 9 NWLR (pt 771) 90 at 106, Gira v State (1996) 4 NWLR (pt443) 375, Ogba v State (1992) 2 NWLR (pt 222) 169, Okereke v State (No.2) (2016) 5 NWLR (pt 1504) 107 at 140, Akinlola v State (2016) 2 NWLR (pt 1497) 803 at 522, Akpan v State (2016) 9 NWLR (pt 1516) 110 at 117. For the first ingredient, it is not in doubt that the deceased, Evans Chinwo is dead. Learned counsel to the Appellant dissipated so much energy in an attempt to convince this Court that the Court below and the trial Court both erred in their concurrent findings that the Respondent proved the second and third ingredients of the offence of murder against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt as required by law. That is to say that the Respondent failed to prove that the appellant intentionally and unlawfully killed Mr. Evans Chinwo. It is trite law that in proof of the above ingredients, the prosecution could rely on either a direct evidence also known as evidence of an eye witness or witnesses, confessional statement of the accused or circumstantial evidence.” Per JOHN INYANG OKORO, JSC in WOWEM v. STATE (2021-LCER-40502-SC) (Pp 20 – 21 Paras; C – E)

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