Court con­victs po­lice­man of ac­ci­den­tal dis­charge

The Punch - - METRO - Oluwatosin Omo­juyigbe

The La­gos State high Court in Ikeja, on Tues­day, sen­tenced a mo­bile po­lice­man at­tached to the First Bank of Nige­ria Lim­ited, Epe branch, Sal­isu Ibrahim, to seven years’ im­pris­on­ment for ac­ci­den­tally shoot­ing a se­cu­rity guard at­tached to the bank with his AK-47 ri­fle.

Ibrahim, while on duty at the bank on July 8, 2013, around 7.45am, ac­ci­den­tally shot the guard, Olan­re­waju Ma­jo­fo­dun, in his but­tocks, which caused his death.

The po­lice­man was sub­se­quently ar­raigned on one count of manslaugh­ter on April 28, 2015.

De­liv­er­ing her judge­ment on Tues­day, Jus­tice Raliat Ade­biyi, noted that Ibrahim’s con­fes­sional state­ment was plau­si­ble and be­liev­able.

The con­vict had said in his con­fes­sional state­ment read in the court dur­ing the trial that he had booked 13 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion from the Epe Po­lice Sta­tion, adding that he had gone out of the bank premises dur­ing a down­pour to fire two rounds of am­mu­ni­tion to test his ri­fle, be­cause the ar­mourer had told him that it had just been ser­viced.

“When I came back, I was try­ing to pull my ri­fle when it went off and a bul­let hit the se­cu­rity man, Olan­re­waju Ma­jo­fo­dun, in the but­tocks. I did not in­tend to kill him; it was an ac­ci­den­tal dis­charge,” he had stated.

Jus­tice Ade­biyi, how­ever, held that the pros­e­cu­tion was able to prove be­yond rea­son­able doubt that the fir­ing of the AK-47 ri­fle by Ibrahim caused the death of the guard.

She said, “The de­fen­dant is a po­lice of­fi­cer; there­fore, the AK47 was law­fully is­sued; the fir­ing of the ri­fle was in a reck­less man­ner with­out re­gard to hu­man life. The court finds that the pros­e­cu­tion was able to prove be­yond rea­son­able doubt that the fir­ing of the AK-47 ri­fle by the de­fen­dant caused the death of the de­ceased.

“The court finds the de­fen­dant rightly con­victed as charged. Sal­isu Ibrahim is hereby found guilty of one count of manslaugh­ter con­trary to Sec­tion 227 of the Crim­i­nal Law of La­gos State.

“Sec­tion 227 stip­u­lates and I quote, ‘Any­one who com­mits the of­fence of manslaugh­ter is li­able to im­pris­on­ment for life’.

“In con­sid­er­ing the ag­gra­vat­ing and mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors, the court finds that there were no ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors, but there were sev­eral mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors in favour of the de­fen­dant. The first is the show of re­morse; sec­ond is no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion; third is care for the de­ceased; fourth is the con­fes­sional state­ment; and fifth is the fact that the de­fen­dant is a fam­ily man with chil­dren.

“The de­fen­dant, Sal­isu Ibrahim, is ac­cord­ingly hereby sen­tenced to seven years’ im­pris­on­ment for the of­fence of manslaugh­ter and the time spent in prison cus­tody while un­der­go­ing trial shall be dis­counted from the prison sen­tence.”

Ibrahim, how­ever, walked out of the court a free man, hav­ing spent six years and five months in prison, which ex­ceeded his jail term.

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