The Supreme Court has okayed the convicted General-Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a.k.a Rev. King to die by hanging.
In a unanimous judgment Friday afternoon, a seven-man panel of justices of the apex court led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, upheld the death sentence that was earlier handed to Ezeugo by the Lagos state High Court.
Consequently, the court in its lead verdict that was delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, dismissed the appeal filed by the convicted clergyman.
Justice Ngwuta declared that “the facts of the case could have been lifted from a horror film and having resolved all the 12 issues Ezeugo raised in his appeal, this appeal has no merit. The judgement of the court of appeal is hereby affirmed.
“The prison sentence that was earlier handed to the appellant is no longer relevant in view of the death sentence passed on him.”
It will be recalled that Ezeugo was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging on January 11, 2007, for the alleged murder of his church member, Ann Uzoh.
He was subsequently arraigned on September 26, 2006 on a six-count charge of attempted murder and murder. The charge against him was instituted at the instance of the Lagos state Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
During the trial, the prosecution had argued that the convict poured petrol on the diseased, Uzor and five others. Uzoh died on August 2, 2006, exactly 11 days after the incident.
In her judgment, trial Justice Joseph Oyewole, who is now a justice of the Court of Appeal, Calabar, said there was sufficient evidence linking the accused person to the commission of the crime.
Consequently, she convicted and sentenced Ezeugo to 20 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder and death by hanging for murder.
But, dissatisfied with the judgment, Ezeugo filed an appeal at Appel Court, Lagos and in his notice of appeal dated January 16, 2007, prayed the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the lower court.
Aside 16 grounds of appeal he raised through his lawyer, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, he was subsequently granted leave to argue an additional 16 grounds based an amended notice of appeal filed on June 15, 2008.
Ojo argued that his client did not commit the crime and was not at the scene of the incident, insisting that the deceased, Uzoh, had in two statements she made after the incident and before her death, stated that she got burnt in a generator accident and that the cleric was not responsible for her injuries.
The three-man panel of justices of the appellate court, in a lead judgment that was delivered by Justice Fatimo Akinbami, dismissed Ezeugo’s appeal and upheld the high court’s verdict.
The other members of the appellate court panel that equally concurred with the lower court’s verdict were Justices Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa.
Determined to save his life, Rev. Ezeugo lodged an appeal before the Supreme Court.
However, his appeal was challenged by the Lagos state government which urged the apex court to dismiss it and uphold the concurrent verdicts of the two lower courts
DISCLAIMER:Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of Abia Breaking News