A bricklayer, Femi Adebowale, was, on Tuesday, sentenced to death by hanging for conspiracy and armed robbery by a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.
The convict was found guilty of a four-count charge offence preferred against him by the Lagos State Government, in accordance with section 295(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, in her judgment, said the minimum penalty provided by the law was death sentence for each of the four offences for which the convict was charged.
“In accordance with the provision of the law, you are hereby sentenced to death by hanging by the neck until death. May the Lord have mercy on us”, she said.
According to the Prosecution, Mr. Akin George had accused the convict, Adebowale of robbing one Alhaja Amudalat Olowo-Eyo of gold jewelry valued over N500, 000.00; cash of N350, 000.00 and other valuable documents at gun point.
The charge read: “That you, Adebowale and others at large, robbed your victims on December 28, 2012 between 1.00 a.m. and 2.00 a.m. at their residence, 10, Aiyetolu Street, Abule Egba, Lagos.
The convict pleaded not guilty to the four count charge preferred against him when he was arraigned last year.
However, the victim, Alhaja Olowo-Eyo had told the court during the trial how the convict and others at large robbed her at her residence.
She told the court that she and her family were gathered in their parlour and were told that they would waste their lives if they refused to co-operate with them.
She said she identified the convict as being among bricklayers brought in by her landlord for the renovation of the house two days before the incident.
She said that after robbery, her husband was able to pin one of the robbers down, a situation that gave her courage to also hold to another robber next to her.
In order to free himself, she said the robber shot her twice in the chest but God kept her alive.
She said colleagues of the convict who escaped came back 20 minutes later and rained bullets on their apartment.
She said one of her daughters was hit in the stomach, another on the back while her son was hit on the thigh.
Olowo-Eyo also said the incidence was reported at Ile Epo Police Station, while they were treated at the General Hospital in the area.
While delivering the judgment, Justice Ipaye dismissed the alibi provided by the convict that he was away in Akure for his marriage introduction ceremony on the day of the incident.
She also described as not credible, the evidence provided by the supposed father in-law who told the court during trial he met the convict for the first time on the day of the ceremony.
Citing several authorities, the trial judge noted that the evidence provided before the court by the complainant and her daughter, among other evidence, were not controverted by the defence led by his counsel, Yemi Omodele.
Justice Ipaye said the prosecution proved their charge of conspiracy as the act was carried out by more than one person.
She also said that the prosecution proved the case of armed robbery against the convict.
“The convict is hereby sentence to death “by hanging by the neck until death”, the prosecution has proved his case beyond reasonable doubt,” Ipaye said.
In another development, a mild drama ensued at Ikeja High Court, on Tuesday after Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye convicted one Femi Adebowale to death by hanging for armed robbery.
As the convict was being led away, some journalists who covered the proceedings had wanted to take the photograph of the convict.
In an attempt to prevent the convict’s picture from being taken, a prison warder, Mr. A.W. Teriba, left the convict unguarded and pounced on Adebisi Onanuga of The Nation, rough-handled and punched him on the chest and ordered him to hand over his BlackBerry phone he wanted to use to take the photograph.
During the scuffle, the warder tore his shirt and removed three buttons from the cloth.
When Onanuga passed the phone to a colleague, Gbenga Adewoye of the AIT/RayPower, Teriba turned his attention to him and punched him again on the chest in an attempt to forcibly take the phone from him.
The incident attracted various officers of the court, lawyers and security officers.
All efforts by those who intervened to settle the matter were rebuffed by Teriba who boasted that he was ready to take the matter up to Abuja.
It took the intervention of the Director, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mrs. Idowu Alakija, before the situation was brought under control.
It would be recalled that a prison warder had assaulted Wahab Akinlade of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), two weeks ago, when he took the photograph of Baale of Temidire village, in Alagbado, Alhaji Nojeen Abioye, who was standing trial for alleged murder and manslaughter.
The matter attracted the attention of Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, who chided the prison official and told him there was nothing offensive in the photograph.
Another prison warder attacked the cameramen of Silverbird Television and Mr. Jesukri Imoni , an independent journalist for taking the photograph of two engineers of Synagogue Church, Akin. Fatiregun and Oladele Ogundeji, when they were remanded in Kirikiri Prison, pending approval of bail application by the court.