Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pa­rade un­nec­es­sary where wit­ness knew sus­pect

Daily Trust - - LAW REPORT -

time; and/or

(4) The vic­tim due to time and cir­cum­stances must not have had full op­por­tu­nity of ob­serv­ing the fea­ture of the ac­cused”.

The ap­pel­lant con­fessed to the com­mis­sion of the crime and not only that he was ar­rested shortly af­ter the com­mis­sion of the of­fence and the stolen goods were found with him. It was there­fore un­nec­es­sary to con­duct an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pa­rade and also in­ves­ti­gate the al­ibi set up by the ap­pel­lant. The trial court prop­erly in­voked the doc­trine of re­cent pos­ses­sion to fix the ap­pel­lant with the com­mis­sion of the of­fence. The ap­pel­lant had an ex­pla­na­tion to give as to how he came into pos­ses­sion of the stolen items so soon af­ter the rob­ber)- was com­mit­ted. The lower court was right to con­clude that -

“if the ob­ject of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is to test the abil­ity of a wit­ness to pick out from a group the per­son, given the cir­cum­stance of this case, this Court agrees with the sub­mis­sion of the re­spon­dent on is­sue 1 that iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pa­rade was not nec­es­sary, or a pre­req­ui­site to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the al­le­ga­tion against the ap­pel­lant”.

The plea of al­ibi though timeously raised was rightly re­jected be­cause the ap­pel­lant was found in the vicin­ity of the crime shortly af­ter the rob­bery and not only that he was found in pos­ses­sion of the stolen items.

Hav­ing been found in pos­ses­sion of the stolen goods, the learned trial Judge was right to in­voke sec­tion 167(a) Ev­i­dence Act to pre­sume that the ap­pel­lant was ei­ther the rob­ber or knew that the goods were stolen when he came into pos­ses­sion. The sec­tion stip­u­lates as fol­lows:

“167 The Court may pre­sume the ex­is­tence of any fact which it thinks likely to have hap­pened, re­gard be­ing had to the com­mon course of nat­u­ral events, hu­man con­duct and pub­lic and pri­vate busi­ness, in their re­la­tion to the facts of the par­tic­u­lar case and in par­tic­u­lar the Court may pre­sume (a)that a man who is in pos­ses­sion of stolen goods af­ter the theft is the thief or has re­ceived the goods know­ing them to be stolen, un­less he can ac­count for his pos­ses­sion.”

The prose­cu­tion proved its case be­yond rea­son­able doubt to war­rant the con­vic­tion of the ap­pel­lant. His con­vic­tion was rightly af­firmed by the lower court.

All the is­sues raised in the ap­peal are re­solved against the ap­pel­lant I find that there is no merit in the ap­peal and it is ac­cord­ingly dis­missed. The sub­sti­tuted sen­tence of life im­pris­on­ment im­posed by the lower court on the ap­pel­lant in place of the death sen­tence pro­nounced by the trial Judge is also af­firmed.

Con­cluded.

Jus­tice Ku­mai Bayang Akaahs

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