The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence passed on Akinola Olatunbosun, for killing a three-month-old baby in 2003 at the All Christian Fellowship Church, Ode Ekiti, Ekiti.
Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who delivered the judgment in Abuja, held that the decisions of the lower and appellate court on the matter were right.
The murdered baby was popularly called “baby Joy Olubodun’’ was the daughter of Mr Mathew Olubodun, the resident pastor of the Church.
Rhodes-Vivour declared: “if ever there was a criminal appeal completely devoid of any merit whatsoever this one scores very high marks.
“From the commencement of the matter, right from the arrest and commencement of trial, the appellant made open confessional statement that he was responsible for the brutal murder of the victim.
“The appellant confessed to be a member of the Church and have known the baby from birth.
“He also confessed to the fact that he took away the baby from the church after the Church’s vigil to unknown destination to dismember her body for ritual purposes.
“The lower courts have used this testimonies and police statement to arrive at their decisions. An Appeal Court would only interfere when there is substantial miscarriage of justice.
“In this case there was no miscarriage of justice. The evidence against the appellant is one way, and he agrees with it.
“It justifies the death sentence passed on him by Jegede J of an Ekiti High Court, affirmed by the Court of Appeal, and finally affirmed by this court. This appeal is dismissed,’’ he said.
The appellant, as the accused person, was charged before an Omuo Ekiti High Court on one- count-charge of murder contrary to section 319(1) of the Criminal Code.
It was alleged that Olatunbosun, on or about June 28, 2003 at All Christian Fellowship Church, Ode-Ekiti, in the Omuo Judicial Division, murdered Joy Olubodun.
In a judgment delivered on Sept. 27, 2007, Jegede found the appellant guilty and sentenced him to death by hanging.
Dissatisfied by the decision, the appellant approached the llorin Division of the Court of Appeal, which delivered a split judgment.
The appellant sought the Supreme Court to determine whether the Court of Appeal was not in error in holding sentence.
He urged the court to hold that the appellate court erred in trying and convicting him of murder under section 319(1) of the criminal code instead of under 316 of the Code.
The appellant further sought the apex court’s determination on whether the Court of Appeal was right in affirming his conviction when his guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
However, the prosecution had sought the court to determine whether it did not prove the offence of murder against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
The prosecution further sought the determination of whether charging the appellant for the offence of murder under section 319(1) of the criminal code was wrong.
On June 28, 2003, a vigil was held at the All Christian Fellowship Church, Ode-Ekiti.
In attendance were several people, including the appellant, the pastor’s wife and her children.
At the end of the vigil at about 3 a.m. some members of the congregation went home while others slept in the Church.
The pastor’s wife, Mrs Olubodun, the mother of the victim, the children, the appellant and several other people slept in the Church.
The police report explained that a few hours after everyone went to sleep, the mother of the victim woke up to find that her three-month-old baby and the appellant were missing.
According to the report, a search party went to the appellant’s house and found it locked up, thereby, raising suspicion.
A report was, therefore, made at a nearby police station leading to the arrest and confession of the appellant.
The report said that the appellant first confessed to the father of the deceased, who was the pastor of the church.
He, therefore, took the Oluboduns and the police to the location where he killed and buried the child in a shallow grave.
The body was exhumed and it was found that the child’s eyes were removed and the throat slashed. [NAN]