The Court of Appeal, Calabar Division on Tuesday 16th February, 2021 quashed the conviction and sentence of one Idara Sunday Akpan who was sentenced to death by the Hon Justice Edem Akpan of the Akwa Ibom State High Court, sitting in Itu on the 7th November, 2016 for Conspiracy and Murder. The Appellant was convicted for the Murder of one Ini Friday Gregory: Appeal No. CA/C/404C/2018
In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal, presided by Mojeed Adekunle Owoade, JCA, who also read the lead judgment and concurred by James Shehu Abiriyi, JCA and Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu, JCA allowed the appeal, discharging and acquitting the Appellant of the offence of Murder.
The two issues presented for the resolution of the appeal by the Appellant’s Counsel were:
1.) Whether the failure of the prosecution to tender or rely on a Medical Report and the testimony of a Medical Examiner was not fatal to its case in the circumstance.
2.) Whether the learned trial Judge was not in error in assuming that the purported Statement of the Appellant/Accused person to the Police was a confessional Statement and whether the assumption as aforesaid did not occasion a miscarriage of justice.
The Court of Appeal agreed with Counsel to the Appellant that a period of about three months having elapsed before the death of the victim of the assault, a Medical Certificate of the cause of death was imperative to determine the true cause of death as it was possible for any intervening circumstance to occasion the death of the deceased. On the Statement of the Appellant erroneously admitted as Confessional and upon which the trial High Court Judge applied legal principles governing confessional statements, the Court of Appeal accepted the submissions of learned Counsel for the Appellant describing the finding as perverse.
The Appellant was represented by Chief Victor Iyanam, a one-time Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State. The Director of Public Prosecutions of Akwa Ibom State, Joseph Umoren, Esq., represented the State.