LAGOS — An Ikeja High Court, Lagos, weekend, sentenced a middle aged man, Thank-God Ukwueze, to five years imprisonment over the death of his niece, Nkiru Iruka, eight years ago.
But the court convicted him for manslaughter in accordance with Section 317 of the same law.
Trial judge, Justice Adebisi Kayode-Ogunmekan, in her judgment, held that though he was found culpable for the death of Iruka, the facts and circumstances of the case made it more appropriate to convict him of a lesser offence of manslaughter.
The Judge said: “Although the accused was charged for the offence of murder, I am of the view that lesser charge is appropriate considering the facts and circumstances of this case.
“I hereby find the accused person guilty of a lesser offence of manslaughter, which attracts the maximum sentence of a life imprisonment. I sentence the accused to five years imprisonment, which excludes the years he had spent in prison following his remand on January 19, 2004.”
The court held that though the accused person’s action caused the death of Nkiru, it might not be a deliberate action but to scare her.
According to the prosecution, the accused person, Ukwueze, allegedly killed Nkiru, who was then 22 years old, by hitting her on the head with a pestle. He was also alleged to have thrown the deceased down from a three-storey building in Ikoyi.
But in his oral evidence during trial, Ukwueze contradicted his statement when he said he did not know how the deceased slipped from the third floor of the storey building.
He said he only became aware of the incident through the noise of those who witnessed it. The trial judge held that his testimony in court was a total lie to cover up his track.
By Abdulwahab Abdulah