The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Wednesday reserved judgement on an appeal filed by the ex-Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Agege Police Station, Segun Fabunmi, seeking nullification of a 10-year jail term a Lagos High Court awarded against him for manslaughter.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade of a Lagos State High Court had sentenced Fabunmi to 10 years in prison for manslaughter following the death of one Ademola Aderintola Daramola during the January 9, 2012 fuel subsidy protest in Lagos.
The lower court found Fabunmi guilty of shooting three other persons – Alimi Abubakar, Egbujor Samuel and Chizorba Odoh, during the protest, thereby causing them grievous bodily harm.
Dissatisfied, Fabunmi in his notice of appeal urged the appellate court to set aside the judgement of the lower court.
Arguing the appeal on Wednesday, Fabunmi’s counsel, CJ Jiakponna stated that the conviction and sentencing of Fabunmi was in error.
He urged the court in the interest of Justice to allow the appeal and set aside the judgement of the lower court.
He argued that the lower court relied solely on the evidence of the prosecution which he said was contradictory in nature.
He urged the court to determine; whether the prosecution proved their case beyond reasonable doubt, whether the learned trial Judge properly evaluated the evidence before convicting the appellant and whether the lower court considered the defence available before convicting Fabunmi for the offence of manslaughter.
But Lagos State represented by its Attorney-General and commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem SAN urged the court to affirm the judgement of the lower court and dismiss the appeal.
Kazeem maintained that the act of the appellant was intentional with knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was possible consequences.
After taking the argument, the panel presided over by Justice U I Ndukwe-Anyanwu reserved judgement on the appeal.
Other members of the panel are, Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill and Justice U A Ogakwu respectively.
Fabunmi of No. 12 Oyewole Street, Ogudu, Lagos, who joined the police in 1984, was arraigned on May 5, 2013 by the Lagos State government on a seven-count charge bordering on murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm.
At the time of the incident, the defendant was the DPO of Pen Cinema Police Station, Agege, Lagos, and had led out his men to Yaya-Abatan area of Ogba following intelligence report that there was a disturbance in that area and that hoodlums were breaking people’s windscreens and holding innocent people hostage.
He had testified that when he got there, there was break down of law and order and that immediately the hoodlums saw him and the seven other policemen on his team, they started throwing bottles, sticks, cutlasses, stones and Molotov cocktails.
Fabunmi said he was attacked by the mob, during which the rifle containing 60 bullets went off. But he denied shooting the deceased or anyone else.
The court agreed with the defendant that there was indeed a mob at the scene of the incident, but concluded that his testimonies on whether or how an attempt was made to snatch his AK47 rifle and who fired the weapon were conflicting.