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CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A PERSON IS DEEMED TO UNLAWFULLY KILL ANOTHER

Dictum

A person who unlawfully kills another under any of the following circumstances is guilty of murder: (1) If the offender intends to cause the death of the person killed or that of some other person. Under this heading, the prosecution is bound to prove beyond reasonable doubt: (a) that the deceased died; (b) that the death of the deceased resulted from the act of the accused; (c) that the act of the accused was intentional with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequence. See Section 316(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 30 Vol. II Laws of Eastern Nigeria 1963 as applicable in Imo State of Nigeria under which the appellant was charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. See also Offorlete v. The State (2000) 80 LRCN 26 20; Effiong v. The State (1998) 59 LRCN 39 61; Richard Igago v. The State (1999) 73 LRCN 3502 at 3535. (2) If the offender intends to do to the deceased or to some other person some grievous harm. See Section 316(2) of the Criminal Code (supra); R v. Dim (1952) 14 WACA 154; R v. Adi (1955) 15 WACA 6. (3) If death is caused by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which act is of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life. The unlawful act need not be a felony so long as it is likely to endanger human life. See Section 316 of the Criminal Code (supra); Obayi Asa v. The State (1976) 7 SC 173; Idowu v. The State (2000) LRCN 2788; R v. Attah (1961) 1 All NLR 590. (4) If the offender intends to do grievous harm to some person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence which is such that the offender may be arrested without a warrant, or for purpose of facilitating the flight of an offender who has committed or attempted to commit any such offence. (5) If death is caused by administering any stupefying or overpowering things for either of the purposes in (4) above. (6) If death is caused by willfully stopping the breath of any person for either of such purpose. See Section 316(6) of the Criminal Code (supra).

— N.S. Ngwuta, JSC. Henry Nwokearu V. The State (SC.227/2011, 24 MAY 2013)

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INGREDIENTS TO PROVE MURDER BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

It ought to have been established and is a well settled law too, that in a case of murder under Section 316 of the Criminal Code, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the underlisted ingredients of the offence; namely: (a) That death of a human being has been caused (b) That it was the act of the accused that caused or led to the death of the deceased. (c) That the act or acts were done with the intention of causing death; or (d) The accused knew that death would be the probable consequence of his act or acts See Omini Vs The State (1999) 12 NWLR (pt.630) 168 or (1999) 9 SC 1; Abogede V The State (1996); Ogba v The State (1992) 2 NWLR (pt.222) 164.

— Amiru Sanusi, JSC. Ogunleye Tobi v The State (2019) – SC.714/2017

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ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENCE OF MURDER

The essential elements or ingredients that constitute the offence are: (1) The death of a human being; (2) That the death of the deceased resulted from the act/s of the person accused. (3) That the act/s of the person accused was/were intentional with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequence.

– M.L. Garba JCA. Odogwu v. Vivian (2009) – CA/PH/345/05

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INGREDIENTS FOR A CHARGE OF MURDER TO SUCCEED

For a conviction to be secured in a charge of murder as prescribed under section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 48, Vol. II, Laws of the defunct Bendel State of Nigeria, 1976 as applicable in Edo State, the following ingredients must be proved thus: (i) That the deceased died; (ii) That the death of the deceased resulted from the act of the accused person; (iii) That the act of the accused person was intentional with knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequences.

— M.U. Peter-Odili, JSC. Enobong v. The State (2022) – SC/CR/249/2020

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MEDICAL EVIDENCE IS NOT A SINE QUA NON FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MURDER

Be that as it may, however, it is now well settled that as much as medical evidence is desirable to prove the cause of death in homicide cases, it is not a sine quo non. It has been laid down in a long line of cases that cause of death can be established by sufficient evidence. other than medical evidence, showing beyond reasonable doubt that death resulted from the particular act of the accused. See Akpuenya v. The State (1976) 11 S.C. 269, 278. In Lori v. The State (1980) 8-11 S.C. 81 at 97.

— Ogundare, JSC. Azu v State (1993) – SC. 131/1992

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INGREDIENTS FOR MURDER

If the offender intends to do to the person killed or to some other person some grievous harm; If death is caused by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which all is of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life ; If the offender intends to do grievous harm to some person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence which is such that the offender may be arrested without warrant, or for the purpose of facilitating the flight of an offender who has committed or attempted to commit any such offence; If death is caused by administering any stupefying or overpowering things for either the purposes last aforesaid; If death is caused by willfully stopping the breath of any person for either of such purposes, is guilty of murder. In the second case, it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt the particular person who is killed. A In the third case, it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt any person.

— Onnoghen, JSC. Njoku v. The State (2012)

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INGREDIENTS TO SUCCEED IN A MURDER CASE

“Generally, in a murder charge, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following:- (1) That the deceased died. (2) That it was the unlawful act or omission of the accused person which caused the death of the deceased, and (3) That the act or omission of the accused which caused the death of the deceased was intentional with knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequence. The prosecution can rely on direct eye witness account or by circumstantial evidence. The prosecution can even prove same by the confession of the accused. See Kaza v The State (2008) 7 NWLR (pt 1085) 125, Akinlolu v The State (2015) LPELR 25986 (SC), Ogedengbe v The State (2014) 12 NWLR (pt 1421) 338, Durwode v The State (2000) 15 NWLR (pt 691) 467.”

— J.I. Okoro, JSC. State v Ifiok Sunday (2019) – SC.709/2013

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