An Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, the state capital, has sentenced one Effiong Philip, a 39-year-old bricklayer, in Mbiakpan Atan, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Council, to life imprisonment for beating his 68-year-old father to death.
The presiding judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang said it was established that the convict beat his father to death over the allegation that he was a wizard and was responsible for the inability of his wife to get pregnant.
In a charge of murder between the State against Monday Effiong Philip, the prosecution told the court that the convict, had on 27th May 2017, upon the complaint of his wife against her father-in-law, “gave fist blows to his father and pushed him, whereupon he is said to have fallen down.”
The prosecution said that even when a neighbour carried the victim into his room, the convict locked up the door to his father’s room and returned the following day, with a patent medicine dealer, only to find the father dead in the room.
In an hour judgment, Justice Nkanang held that the invitation of the patent medicine dealer by the convict was an indication that, in spite of the unwarranted and unlawful assault on his father, he had no intention of causing his death, nor did he know that death would be a probable consequence of his action.
“Whereas it was the act of the accused person that resulted in the death of the deceased, the six circumstances provided for in section 3, 2, 3 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, which identifies what constitutes murder, appear to be absent in the entire scenario of the case,” the court held.
Justice Nkanang further held that “the position of the Court, on the extent to which evidence at trial, has established the three ingredients of murder, is that, the deceased is dead and the act of the accused person is responsible for the death, but there is insufficient evidence to prove the third mandatory ingredient in a charge of murder.”
“The position of the law is that the particulars of the lesser offence must be capable of being subsumed in the original charge, such that it is possible to carve out the lesser offence from the particulars of the original charge, which was murder,” the Court held.
Justice Nkanang said, “it is this law that vests the trial court with the power to convict for a lesser offence, where the ingredients of the said lesser offences are contained in the aggravated charge and are found proved.”
The Court resolved the issue in favour of the prosecution and convicted Monday Effiong Akpan for manslaughter and sentenced him to imprisonment for life.
The convict, who is a father of one, pleaded with the court to have mercy on him, saying he is the only child of his father.