A Lagos High Court at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Igbosere on Tuesday, sentenced a 32-year-old labourer, Philip Ikechi alias ‘Eba’, to life imprisonment for the murder of his friend.
Justice Modupe Nicol-Clay convicted Ikechi following a more than six-year old trial that was interrupted by, among others, the COVID-19-induced lockdown and court workers’ strike.
The Police first arraigned Ikechi in 2014 on a temporary charge at a magistrate’s court.
The case was then transferred to the High Court where the Lagos State Government took over the case and filed a two-count charge against the defendant, bordering on murder and assault occasioning harm.
The prosecution told the court that the incident occurred on April 14, 2014, at about 8:30am at Plank Bridge in Kemberi Town of Okokomaiko, a Lagos suburb.
The court heard further that Ikechi and his gang members murdered one Puadbei Yaige by stabbing him with a knife and also assaulted one Taofeek Aremu, by striking him with a machete.
Ikechi pleaded not guilty and trial commenced.
To prove his innocence, he put up a defence of alibi, insisting that he was nowhere near the scene of the crime when Yaige was killed.
But in her judgment, Justice Nicol-Clay held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, that the defendant lied.
She declared that : “In proving the guilt of the defendant in the instant case, the prosecution called five witnesses who gave accounts of facts and synopsis of events that led to the death of the deceased Puadebi Yaige…
“It is trite that when an accused person is fixed at the scene of a commission of the crime, the plea of alibi fails,” she said.
The judge noted that in the instant case, the defendant was duly placed, by evidence, at the crime scene at the material time.