This court also decided in Enahoro v. The Queen (supra) at p.144 that a spectator is not an accomplice and in doing so it rejected the minority judgment [Mbanefo, Ag. JSC.,(as he then was) in Michael Adedapo Omisade & Ors. v. The Queen (1964) 1 All NLR 233 at 293 – 294. The question in Omisade (supra) was whether Dr. Onabamiro, a witness for the prosecution was, a participes criminis and as such, an accomplice. According to the evidence, he was present with three other persons when one of them put up the proposal of capturing by force or seizing power from the Federal Government of Nigeria and assigned tasks to that effect; remaining silent he neither affirmed nor rejected the proposal. Later he bought and studied books on revolution; but on the evidence he certainly did nothing towards carrying out the task assigned to him. Later he stumbled into a meeting of the others present when the proposal for seizure of government and assignment of tasks therefore was made, and he advised them that their plan was not feasible although on that occasion he offered to take an oath of secrecy. The majority of the court ( a court of five Judges) thought he was certainly not an accomplice; the fifth (Mbanefo Ag. JSC. as he then was) held the view that he was or, at least, a “tainted witness” in the light of Section 40 of the Criminal Code.

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There are three classes of accomplice (a) participles criminis in respect of the actual crime charged, (b) Receivers vis-a-vis the thieves from whom they receive the goods on a trial of the latter for stealing, (c) Witneses for the prosecution who, on previous occasions, were parties to crimes identical to that committed by an accused...

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