Convicted General Overseer Of Christian Prayer Assembly, Rev. Emeka Ezeugo, Also Known As Rev King, Will Know On Feb 26 If He Will Be Executed Or Not
General Overseer (G.O) of the Christian Prayer Assembly (CPA), Rev. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, popularly known as Rev King, will wait till February 26, 2016 to know if the Supreme Court will uphold the death sentence on him or order otherwise.
Rev. King, who has been battling to have his conviction and subsequent sentence to die by hanging, having been found guilty of murder, had appealed against his punishment. His fate now rests with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court sitting in Abuja had yesterday fixed February 26, 2016 for judgment in the appeal filed by the convicted General Overseer.
In his appeal, Rev. King challenged the judgement of a Lagos High Court sentencing him to death by hanging. The apex court presided over by Justice Walter Onoghen adjourned for judgment after entertaining arguments from counsel to prosecution and defence in the matter.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for Lagos state, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who appeared before the Supreme Court alongside Mrs. Idowu Alakija, the Director of Public Prosecution and other Senior Counsel in the State, urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgment of the lower courts. Ezeugo was arraigned on September 26, 2006 on a sixcount charge of attempted murder and murder.
He pleaded not guilty to the allegation but was sentenced to death by the then Justice Joseph Oyewole of Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on January 11, 2007 for the murder of one of his church members, Ann Uzoh. The Lagos State Government had said that the convict poured petrol on the deceased and five other persons and that Uzoh died on August 2, 2006; 11 days after the act was perpetrated on her.
Specifically, Ezeugo was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the attempted murder and death by hanging for the offence of murder. Dissatisfied, Ezeugo challenged the verdict before the Court of Appeal in Lagos, but the appeal was thrown out in 2013. “I hereby rule that the prosecution effectively discharged the burden of proof on it. This appeal is devoid of any basis and accordingly fails. “The judgment of the High Court is hereby affirmed, and the conviction imposed on the appellant, (which is death by hanging) is also affirmed,” Justice Fatimo Akinbami who read the judgement held.
The two other members of the panel of Justices, Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa concurred with the lead judgement. Again, Ezeugo not being satisfied with the verdict, approached the Supreme Court, and urged that the judgment be upturned. Rev. King had filed a notice of appeal on January 16, 2007, containing 16 grounds of appeal against the judgment. The Court of Appeal, on June 10, 2008, granted him leave to argue grounds of his appeal through an amended notice of appeal of June 15, 2008.
Reading the judgement, Justice Akinbami, had dismissed Rev. King’s claim that the prosecution’s case was clustered with doubt and held that all the issues raised by the appellant failed, and resolved same in favour of the prosecution. On the issue of dying declaration by Miss Uzoh, the Justice Akinbami said that there must be the belief in the danger of approaching death, and this belief is subjective rather objective and upheld the view of the lower court and held that the declaration of the deceased could not be admitted as a dying declaration, since there was no immediate apprehension or fear of approaching death.
On the defence of alibi raised by appellant counsel, Justice Akinbami ruled that the evidences adduced by prosecution witness (Pw) 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 and 10, clearly pinned the appellant to the scene of the crime. “The import of alibi is to show that the accused was elsewhere other than the purported place of crime. It is the duty of prosecution to investigate such claims” Justice Akinbami held adding that “in the case of State vs Fatai Azeez, the evidence of the prosecution witnesses linked the appellant to the scene of the offence”.
She also held that “even the evidence of a tainted witness is admissible once it is material to the case. A tainted witness is one who may not be an accomplice, but whose evidence may be admissible without the necessity of administering any special warning”. She upheld the conviction to the disappointment of Rev. King’s counsel who vowed to pursue the matter further.
– Our Reporter