BENJAMIN FRIDAY V. THE STATE LRLR VOL 5 PART 54 2016






                                  BENJAMIN FRIDAY V. THE STATE

                                        LRLR VOL 5 PART 54 2016



RATIO

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMED, J.S.C
NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA, J.S.C
KUMAI BAYANG AKA’AHS. J.S.C
CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE J.S.C
AMIRU SANUSI J.S.C             

FACTS

The appellant who was the first accused and two others were found guilty on the charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery contrary to section 6(b) of the Robbery and firearms Act & section 1(2) (a) of firearms Act. 
Benjamin Friday, Mathew Thomas, and Nelson Friday, on or about 1st of February 2008 at Ondo in the Ondo judicial division conspired with one another to commit a felony, to wit, armed robbery. 
They robbed Hon. Justice Akin Akintoroye of a sum of 14,000, two sets of laptops, a suit, jewelries, and at the time of robbery, they were armed with offensive weapons.

The appellant and the accused pleaded not guilty of the offences charged. At trial, the prosecution called 4 witnesses which are the victims of the robbery and the police officers who investigated the case. 
The prosecution led evidence to the fact that during the search, a toy gun was found in the appellant premises but none of the items stolen could be found. The appellant explained that the toy gun and other items which were recovered inside a bag in his apartment belongs to his cousin Enete. He denied robbing the victim. 

At the end of the trial, all the three accused were found guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery and sentenced to death by hanging.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court, the appellant appealed the decision. The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the trial judge who held that the coming together of the accused and identification of by the victims was a conclusive proof of the offence of conspiracy. 

The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the grounds of lack of merit and further affirmed the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

PRINCIPLES DECIDED IN THE CASE

.  Proof of Conspiracy - it is difficult to prove conspiracy by direct evidence because of the secrecy involved, it can only be inferred from surrounding circumstances. In this case, the learned trial judge was right in stating that the coming together of the accused om the 1st of February and identification of the accused by the victims of the robbery was a conclusive proof of the offence of conspiracy. Onyenye V. State (2012) 15 NWLR (Pt 1324)586; Bright V. State (2012) 8 NWLR (Pt 1302) 297

.  When the Supreme Court will interfere with findings of the lower courts - the concurrent findings of fact made by the two lower courts cannot be interfered by the Supreme Court. 
It can only be disturbed if they are shown to be perverse, unsupported by the evidence before the trial court, or if such findings were reached as a result of a wrong approach to the evidence of the principles of substantive law. These are what the appellant failed to establish.




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