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IN MURDER CASE, IT MUST BE SHOWN THAT THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED WAS CAUSED BY THE ACCUSED

Dictum

In Lori v. State (1980) 8-11 SC 81 at 95-96, this court per Nnamani, JSC said: “In a charge of murder, the cause of death must be established unequivocally and the burden rests on the prosecution to establish this and if they fail the accused must be discharged. See Rex v. Samuel Abengowe 3 WACA 85; R v. Oledima 6 WACA 202. It is also settled law that the death of the victim must be caused by the act of the accused or put differently it must be shown that the deceased died as a result of the act of the accused. See Sunday Omonuju v. The State (1976) 5 SC 1, Frank Onyenankeya v. The State (1964) NMLR. 34.”

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IN MURDER: THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED MUST BE ESTABLISHED

In a charge of murder the cause of death of the deceased must be established unequivocally and the burden rests on the prosecution to establish this and if they fail the accused must be discharged.

– Nnamani JSC. Lori v. State (1980)

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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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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 PROVE OFFENCE OF MURDER

The law is well settled that in murder cases, (as in this instant case) the prosecution, in order to obtain conviction must prove the under mentioned ingredients of the offence of murder, beyond reasonable doubt. They include the followings:- (1) That the deceased died (2) That the death of the deceased was caused by the act(s) or omission of the accused person/appellant. (3) That the act or omission of the accused/appellant was intentional or with knowledge that death or bodily harm was its probable consequence. See Okin Nsibehe Edoho vs The State (2010) 14 NWLR ( pt. 1214) 651; Audu v State (2003) 7 NWLR (pt.820) 516; R. V. Nwokocha (1949)12 WACA 453; R v Owe (1961) 2 SCNLR 354; State v Omoni (1969)2 ALL NLR 337.

— A. Sanusi, JSC. Bassey v State (2019) – SC.900/2016

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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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