By Najem Francis, Sokoto
A 33-year-old man, Mr. Abednego Robinson, alias Kamal, has been sentenced to life imprisonment having been found guilty of attempt to commit culpable homicide by a Sokoto High Court.
Delivering judgment at the Sokoto High Court 5, Justice Malami Umar Dogondaji said that the plea of ‘not guilty’ by the accused person was untenable because the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
He said that his confessional statement and evidence of the prosecution witnesses left no doubt “that he attacked his victim, Mr. Matthew Osakwe, who happened to be his master with intent to finish him off”.
According to the judge, the failure of the accused to testify for himself did not help his case as “he exposed himself to risk by electing not to give his evidence and relying on the uncontradicted evidence of the prosecution. He overwhelmingly failed to rebut the accusation when it was his right to do so”, the judge declared.
The accused person was charged with attacking Mr. Osakwe in his residence at Tamaji Area of Sokoto Metropolis on December 5, 2016, shortly after relocating from his former residence which was gutted by fire which also claimed the lives of his wife and a son.
Mr. Robinson who stabbed his victim in the abdomen escaped with injury on the forehead as he was overpowered by his former boss who dealt him several blows on the head with a stick.
The accused was however exposed as the perpetrator of the attack when the tools he left behind when fleeing from the scene of the attack were identified by the owner who disclosed that the accused borrowed them from him on the pretence that he was going to force his door open because he had lost his keys.
The tools tendered as evidence in court included a knife, a chisel, a hammer, two iron rods and a plyer among others.
The judge noted that the accused person in his confessional statement acknowledged that his master, Mr Osakwe was good to him and had employed him in his table water shop on a monthly salary of N10, 000.
He also observed the accused person’s statement denied being sent by anyone to kill Osakwe but that he was asked to do so by an evil spirit.
Despite the plea for leniency by defence counsel, Barrister Nuhu Adamu, and the absence of opposition from the prosecution counsel, Barrister Zanaib Bello Aliyu, the judge said that Robinson did not deserve any sympathetic consideration and should face the maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
He stated that the sentence was based on the gravity of the offence and the interest of the larger society in accordance with Section 229 of the criminal code.
In his reaction, the defence counsel, Barrister Adamu, who offered free legal services to the accused person said that he would appeal against the judgment on the ground of over reliance on the confessional statement which was “not voluntary but had some element of coercion”
According to him, another ground for appeal was the failure of the victim to identity at the scene of the incident Mr. Robinson who had been working for him for over a year as his attacker.