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THERE NEED NOT BE AN INTENT TO KILL FOR MURDER TO SUCCEED

Dictum

What then is Murder as an offence with which the appellant was charged, convicted and sentenced? Murder is the taking of human life by a person who either (a) has a malicious and willful intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm, or (b) is wickedly reckless as to the consequences of his act upon his victim. For murder therefore, there must be an evil intent, that is, a criminal intent although it is not necessary that there should be an intent to kill. See; R v. Viockers (1957) 2 All ER 741 at 744.

— Ariwoola 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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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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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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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 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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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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