Doctrine Of Final Seen : Its Applicability In Proof Of Homicide In The Nigerian Court docket
By Oringo Bamidele Gabriel
It’s a on condition that no man is an island. Man as a social being even within the predate society is bestowed with an inalienable proper of affiliation. The importance of this freedom to affiliate with different individuals can’t be overemphasized particularly because it helps man to comprehend his desires and aspirations. Nevertheless, there are situations whereby such train of proper of affiliation quantities to obvious tragedy and inherent illegality. This will manifest in an occasion the place one is the final individual seen earlier than the illegal taking of a deceased’s life. The correlative query is; Do our legal guidelines punish the final individual seen with a deceased ? To what extent does the “Doctrine of final seen” apply in proof of homicide ? This work seeks to evaluate the Doctrine of final seen and its applicability in proof of homicide within the Nigeria authorized System.
CONCEPTUALIZATION OF OPERATIVE TERMS.
Below the frequent regulation, homicide was outlined because the illegal killing of a human being by one other with malice aforethought.
Part 316 of the felony code is authoritative of the that means of homicide. It unequivocally gives that an individual has dedicated homicide:
(1) if the offender intends to trigger the loss of life of the individual killed, or that of another individual;
(2) if the offender intends to do to the individual killed or to another individual some grievous hurt;
(3) if loss of life is prompted by the use of an act accomplished within the prosecution of an illegal objective, which act is of such a nature as to be more likely to endanger human life;
(4) if the offender intends to do grievous hurt to some individual for the aim of facilitating the fee of an offence which is such that the offender could also be arrested with out warrant, or for the aim of facilitating the flight of an offender who has dedicated or tried to commit any such offence;
(5) if loss of life is attributable to administering any stupefying or overpowering issues for both of the needs final aforesaid;
(6) if loss of life is attributable to wilfully stopping the breath of any individual for both of such functions; is responsible of homicide.
In unusual parlance, Homicide means the illegal taking of lifetime of a human being.
- DOCTRINE OF LAST SEEN.
In Tajudeen Iliyasu v. The State(2013) AELR 1857(CA), the courtroom x-rayed that: “The doctrine of ‘final seen’ signifies that the regulation presumes that the individual final seen with a deceased bears full accountability for his loss of life if it seems that the individual final seen with him has turned up useless, thus the place a defendant was the final individual to be seen within the firm of the deceased and circumstantial proof is overwhelming and results in no different protected conclusion, then there is no such thing as a room for acquittal. It’s the obligation of the defendant in such damnifying circumstances to offer a proof referring to how the deceased met his or her loss of life and within the absence of such a proof, absolutely and positively , a trial courtroom might be completely justified in drawing the required inference that the defendant will need to have killed the deceased.” Succinctly put, The Doctrine of final seen signifies that the total accountability of the loss of life of a deceased individual tilt in the direction of the final individual seen with the deceased individual.
APPLICABILITY OF THE DOCTRINE OF LAST SEEN IN MURDER CASES IN NIGERIAN COURTS.
The offence of homicide just isn’t alien to us, and as such our legal guidelines in its type of dynamism have devised means to curb such menace within the society. Certainly one of these technique of eliminating homicide in our society is thru the instrumentality of the ‘doctrine of final seen’. This presumption of truth often called the doctrine of final seen which is predicated on circumstantial proof was developed by the Supreme Court docket. Statutorily this presumption might be present in part 167 of the Proof Act. Part 167 of the proof Act gives as comply with: The courtroom could presume the existence of any truth which it deems more likely to have occurred, regard shall be needed to the frequent course of pure occasions, human conduct and private and non-private enterprise, of their relationship to the information of the actual case, and particularly the courtroom could presume that-
(a) a person who’s in possession of stolen items quickly after the theft is both the thief or has acquired the products realizing them to be stolen, except he can account for his possession;
(b) a factor or state of issues which has been proven to be in existence inside a interval shorter than that inside which such issues or states of issues normally stop to exist, continues to be in existence;
(e) the frequent course of enterprise has been adopted particularly instances:
(d) proof which might be and isn’t produced would. if produced, be unfavourable to the one who withholds it; and
(e) when a doc creating an obligation is within the fingers of the obligor. the duty has been discharged,
The Doctrine of final has been deployed in a plethora of instances by the Nigerian courts. In Igabele v The State,(2006)2 All N.L.R. 221, the appellant was convicted for homicide. The case of the prosecution was that the appellant motor driver and the deceased conductor, each went out with their car however didn’t return residence. The car was later returned by one other driver about 4 days later and the subsequent day the proprietor of the car reported the matter to the police. The physique of the deceased was found about one month later with very important organs lacking and the appellant was arrested about two months later. The appellant claimed that the deceased received off the car someplace to see his brother however didn’t say the place. Later, he stated that the deceased fell off the car someplace and died. The Supreme Court docket affirmed the conviction of the appellant. Oguntade JSC stated, after asking the next questions; Are the information of this case appropriate with the innocence of the appellant? Are the information able to clarification upon every other cheap speculation than the guilt of the appellant?
“I agree that in a felony trial the burden is all the time on the prosecution to show the guilt of the accused individual past all cheap doubt. Typically talking subsequently, there is no such thing as a obligation on the accused to show his innocence. Nevertheless, the place circumstances come up, as on this case, some clarification could also be required from the accused individual because the information in opposition to him are robust. The place he fails to supply such clarification as occurred on this case, his failure will assist an inference of guilt in opposition to him.”
In Archibong v The State, (2006) LCN/3473(SC), the appellant was convicted for homicide. The case of the prosecution was that the deceased and the appellant went to a resort for drinks after which they checked right into a room. About two hours later the waiter knocked on the door of the room however there was no response. He opened the door and located that the appellant was not within the room however the deceased lay bare and immobile on the ground with foam round her mouth and nostril. The Supreme Court docket utilized the doctrine of final seen and convicted the appellant. See additionally Adepetu V. The State(1998) JELR 45657 (SC).
There’s a presumption in regulation that the individual final seen with a deceased individual is presumed to have dedicated the offence of homicide if it seems that the individual final seen with him has turned up useless. The burden lies closely on the defendant to discountenance such presumption in regulation. Failure to rebut such past cheap doubt results in the conviction of such individual.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Oringo Bamidele Gabriel is a pupil of College of Regulation, College of Calabar.
Bamidele is an astute regulation pupil who could be very sedulous in his educational pursuit.
He’s a authorized researcher, author and a seasoned scholar.
He serves presently because the Director of Analysis, Roots Associates, a pupil Chamber within the College of Calabar.
He’s additionally an officer in The Ministry of Justice, College students’ Union Authorities, College of Calabar, Calabar.
Bamidele has curiosity in Leisure Regulation, Environmental Regulation, Felony Regulation, Mental Property, amongst different areas of regulation.
Oringo Bamidele Gabriel, could be reached through;
WhatsApp – +234 7064509087
Fb – Statutory flavour
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