The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence passed on one Freeborn Okiemute by a Delta High Court sitting at Ozoro for the offence of armed robbery.
In a unanimous judgement of the Apex Court, the Appelant’s seven grounds of appeal as contained in the brief of arguments settled by his lead Counsel, Ayo Asala Esq were dismissed.
While upholding the concurrent judgements of both the trial Court and the Court of Appeal, Justice Suleiman Galadima who delivered the lead judgement, agreed with the submission of the Respondent ably represented by the learned Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor Esq who argued that the Court of Appeal was eminently right when it upheld the conviction and sentence of the Appellant to death by the High Court of Ozoro, Delta State in case No.HC2/13C/2008 on the 14th day of July, 2010.
On the 17th day of November, 2006 at Ozoro within the Ozoro Judicial Division, the Appellant, Freeborn Okiemute and others now at large robbed one Mathilda Egbamuno (f) of the cash sum of N500, 000. 00, jewelries, wrappers and other personal belongings while armed with gun.
The Appellant was convicted by Justice Marshal Umukoro of Ozoro High Court, now the Chief Judge of Delta State on count I and V of a five count charge (conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery) and sentenced him to death by hanging while he was discharged and acquitted in respect of the other four counts.
Dissatisfied with the Judgment of the trial Court, the appellant filed a notice a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeal, Benin Division challenging the Judgment on the High Court. On the 15th day of November, 2012 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and affirmed the Judgment of the lower Court that convicted the Appellant.
In affirming the concurrent judgments of the trial Court and that of the Court of Appeal, Justice Galadima held that the Prosecution did prove its case against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt and dismissed the appeal for lack of merit.
“It is on the above comments of mine and comprehensive reasons adumbrated in the lead judgment that I am in agreement that this appeal lacks merit and an order of dismissal is inevitable. Appeal is accordingly dismissed” Justice John Okoro concurred in his ruling.
Meanwhile, a notorious kingpin of a five man kidnap gang, Kennedy Itoje who has been on the wanted list of Law Enforcement Agencies has been sentenced to 13 years in jail with hard labour by a Delta State High Court for the kidnap of a Nurse and for demanding the sum of N20million as ransom.
Kennedy Itoje was convicted by an Asaba High Court (Warrant Matter) on a two count charge of Conspiracy to commit a felony to wit; kidnapping punishable under section 516 and kidnapping punishable under section 364(2) of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C21, Volume 1, Laws of Delta State, 2006. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment on the count of conspiracy and 8 years in jail for kidnapping with hard labor.
Itoje was the leader of the armed gang that abducted one Mrs. Kate Okogu, a Nurse on the 13th of September, 2012 at Ughelli and took her inside the forest where she was held captive until she was rescued by Security agents. Two members of the gang, who were arrested at the place where the victim was kept, have since been convicted and sentenced to jail by an Asaba High Court while the Itoje was on the run.