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THERE MUST BE A NEXUS BETWEEN THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED AND THE ACT OF THE ACCUSED

Dictum

Also settled, is that in a murder trial, the prosecution, must show conclusively, that the death of the deceased was caused by the act of the accused person. In other words, there must be a nexus between the act of the accused person and the death of the victim.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Udosen v State (2007) – SC.199/2005

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

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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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 CONVICTION OF MURDER

The law has been long established in a legion of judicial authorities that before an Accused person can be convicted for the offence of murder, the prosecution is duty bound to prove the following ingredients beyond reasonable doubt: a) That the deceased died; b) That it was the unlawful act or omission of the Appellant which caused the death of the deceased; and c) That the act or omission of the accused which caused the death of the deceased was intentional with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequence.

– Adamu Jauro, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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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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MURDER AND BAIL; IT MAY NOT BE PROPER TO KEEP ACCUSED IN CUSTODY JUST BECAUSE MURDER IS ALLEGED AGAINST HIM

In the case of Christian Diogu v. The Commissioner of Police (2000) 1 K.L.R. (Pt. 94) 195 the appellant was charged for conspiracy and murder before the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Onitsha. The Chief Magistrate remanded the appellant in custody. He applied to the High Court for a bail. The High Court dismissed his application on the ground that it would not be in public interest to admit the applicant to bail. The applicant then appealed to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division. The Court of Appeal in granting bail was of the view that it would be dangerous to merely arrest citizens of this country on allegation of murder without substantial facts in support and keep them in custody merely because they are being accused of murder. From the facts of that case the prosecution did not even provide the court with proof of evidence to show that there was a prima facie case of murder against the appellant.

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CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A PERSON IS DEEMED TO UNLAWFULLY KILL ANOTHER

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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