S/Court affirms 22-year jail term on kidnapper




Abuja  – The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the conviction and sentence of a kidnapper, Bello Okashetu to 22 years in jail.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convict was sentenced on offences of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and unlawful possession of firearms.
Justice Clara Ogunbiyi leading other four justices of the Court in a unanimous decision held that the appeal by the convict was devoid of any merit.
The other members of the panel are the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, Justices Suleiman Galadima, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun and Iyang Okoro.
“The concurrent judgments of the two lower courts are hereby affirmed.
“The conviction and sentence of the appellant for the offences of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and illegal possession of firearms are also affirmed.
“In other words, on count three the appellant is sentenced to five years, on count four the appellant is sentenced to seven years,’’ Ogunbiyi held.
The judge further held that: “on count five the appellant is also sentenced to ten years without an option or fine’’.
“However, the sentences in count four and five only shall run concurrently,’’ the Judge said.
She also held that the seeming contradiction alleged in the case before the appellant was of no moment as rightly held by the lower courts’’.
“In other words the argument by the appellant’s Counsel would have had substance if the discrepancy is material to the determination of the case and the prosecution fails to proffer explanations.
“The inconsistency in the make of the riffle has been explained by the prosecution and accepted by the trial court.
“The principle of law that any inconsistency or contradiction in the case of the prosecution be resolved in favour of an accused person does not arise therefore in this situation at hand,’’ she held.
Ogunbiyi further held that the two lower courts did not consider the contradictions referred to by the appellant as material.
“It is trite in law that the supreme court cannot interfere with the findings of two lower courts except where the findings are perverse or not in line with laid down principles of law.
“The appellant has not shown in his brief of argument that the findings of the lower courts are perverse,’’ Ogunbiyi held.
Okashetu had filed the appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Benin delivered on Dec.9, 2014.
The appellate court had affirmed the judgment of the Delta State High Court, Asaba, which convicted and sentenced the appellant.
Dissatisfied with the decisions at the lower courts, the convict had approached the apex court with the appeal. (NAN)

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