Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

WHAT CONSTITUTES CONSPIRACY; CONSPIRACY IS USUALLY PROVED BY CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Dictum

In legal parlance, conspiracy as an offence is the agreement by two or more persons to do or cause to be done an illegal act or legal act by illegal means. The actual agreement alone constitutes the offence and it is not necessary to prove that the act has in fact been committed. See OBIAKOR V. THE STATE (2002) 100 LRCN 1716 @ 1719. Where persons are charged with conspiracy and with offence committed in pursuance of it as in the instant case, conviction for conspiracy is usually predicated on circumstantial evidence which must be of such a quality that irresistibly compels the Court to infer the guilt of the accused person. See POSU and ANOR. V. THE STATE (2011) 193 LRCN 52 @ 69. Conspiracy as rightly held by the lower Court is seldom proved by direct evidence but by circumstantial evidence and inference from certain proven acts. See ODUNEYE V. THE STATE (2001) 83 LRCN 1 @ 16.

— P.M. Ekpe JCA. Abrefera V. FRN (CA/B/114C/2015, 9 MAR 2018)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

JOINT COMMISSION OF CRIME – COMMON INTENTION IN EXECUTION PROVES GUILT

The law on a joint commission of crime and the liability or criminal responsibility of each person who participated in the joint act is thus, as restated by this Court in GODWIN ALAO v. THE STATE (2015) LPELR -24686 (SC)- Where more than one persons are accused of a joint commission of a crime, it is enough that they all participated in the crime. What each of the participants did in furtherance of the commission of the crime is immaterial. The mere fact that (there exists) the common intention manifesting in the execution of the common object is enough to render each of the accused person in the group guilty of the offence. See NWANKWOALA v. STATE (2006) 14 NWLR (pt.1000) 663; IKEMSON v. STATE (1989) 3 NWLR (pt. 110) 455; OYAKHIRE v. STATE (2001) 15 NWLR (pt. 1001) 157 … The death of the deceased is conceded. It is no longer in doubt. Available evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was among those who attacked Safiya Nomau with these weapons by which fatal injuries were inflicted on her. She died in consequence of the attack and the injuries inflicted on her by the group the appellant belonged. I cannot see the doubt created as to whether the death was the act of the appellant. The mere fact that the appellant jointly participated in the attack on the deceased manifesting a common intention in the execution of the common object is enough to render him guilty of the offence jointly committed with the others.

— E. Eko, JSC. Galadima v. State (2017) – SC.70/2013

Was this dictum helpful?

REMEDY FOR CONSPIRACY IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

To obtain in civil proceedings a remedy for conspiracy, the plaintiff must establish (a) a combination of the defendants, (b) to effect an unlawful purpose, resulting in damage to the plaintiff (Crofter Hand Woven Harris Tweed Co Ltd v Veitch ([1942] 1 All ER 142 at 147, [1942] AC 435 at 440) per Lord Simon LC). The classic definition of conspiracy is that in Mulcahy v R ((1868) LR 3 HL 306 at 317): ‘A conspiracy consists not merely of the intention of two or more, but in the agreement of two or more to do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means.’

— Buckley LJ. Belmont v Williams [1980] 1 ALL ER 393

Was this dictum helpful?

TO PROVE CONSPIRACY, THERE NEED BE PROOF OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN PARTIES

In order to establish the charge of conspiracy, it is respondent’s burden to prove that there was agreement between the appellant and another person to commit robbery and that the robbery had infact been committed. The offence of conspiracy is established once the Court is satisfied that the appellant and any other person had and knew of the intention or purpose of the conspiracy. This agreement between the conspirators to commit the unlawful act is, in most cases, inferred or presumed. See N. OSUAGWU V. THE STATE (2013) 1-2 SC (PT1) 37 and AFOLABI V. STATE (2016) LPELR – 40300(SC).

— M.D. Muhammad, JSC. Friday Charles v. The State of Lagos (SC.CR/503/2020, Friday March 31 2023)

Was this dictum helpful?