A unanimous decision has been reached by the justices of the Court of Appeal in Lagos on Thursday, concerning the appeal against the 10 years imprisonment sentencing issued by a Lagos State High Court on a DPO who was accused of shoting and killing one Ademola Aderinto during the January 9, 2012 protest against fuel subsidy removal in Lagos.
The news reports states that the Court of Appeal upheld the sentencing of the accused.
Segun Fabunmi, who served as the DPO of Pen Cinema Police Station in Agege, was found guilty of manslaughter by Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Igbosere Division of the Lagos High Court.
Mr. Fabunmi who was dismissed as a Chief Superintendent of Police, after the incident occurred where he was reported to have shot at three people, Alimi Abubakar, Egbujor Samuel and Chizorba Odoh, during the protest, “thereby causing them grievous bodily harm.”
He was arraigned on a three count charge of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm.
His trial began in 2013, and Mr. Fabunmi was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him accordingly.
After his conviction by the high court, Mr. Fabunmi filed a notice at the Appeal Court to challenge the judgment of the lower Court, and urged that it should be upturned.
The appeal court, after considering the arguments canvassed by the counsel to the appellant, C.J. Jiakponna and the counsel for the respondent, the Appeal Court held that the issue of the identity of the deceased raised by the appellant was not material since it was not in doubt that the appellant shot the deceased.
The court specifically punctured the argument of the appellant saying that the defence of accident and self-defence would not avail the appellant because “these defences were mutually exclusive.”
“The appellant, being a seasoned police officer, could have reasoned to use rubber bullet, teargas etc on the mob rather than resorting to lethal weapon (AK 47),” the appellate court held, adding that the appeal lacked merit.
“The use of AK 47, a lethal weapon, convinced the lower court that the appellant had intention to cause grievous bodily harm and the defence of accident could not avail the appellant since there was clear evidence that he shot at the deceased and other persons.”
Written by Okolo Ezinne