Five awaiting fate for killing relative

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FIVE Koari men from Sogeri, Central, are now awaiting their fate over the killing of a relative and fellow villager.
This follows the hearing of final submissions by the state and defence on the wilful murder charge in the National Court last Friday.
Justice Panuel Mogish will deliver the verdict at a date to be announced.
Defence lawyer Mi­chael Wagambie, of Wa­gambie Lawyers, said the evidence before the court “fell short of establishing” the accused persons had any intention to kill the de­ceased on Dec 16, 2008, following an argument over the felling of a sago palm.
Wagambie told the court all five accused –  Badi Odua, Ubene Odua, Mai­kidi Odua, Wafona Ogo and Mikes Agnes – had been present at the scene of the crime “but there is no evidence of anyone of them intentionally assisted or encouraged in the killing of the deceased”.
He said all accused and the deceased, Ake Nido, were related and came from Ogotana village in Koari.
He said all evidence showed there were no prior disputes between the men and the deceased.
“Odua, in his sworn evidence, stated the deceased was his nephew and that they did not have any outstanding dispute or issue except the dispute over the sago,” he said.
Wagambie said Odua had no intention of killing the deceased.
“His intention was to stop the fight; however, the stick (accidentally) hit the deceased on his head and the deceased dropped to the ground and lay motionless,” he said.
Wagambie said Odua said following that, the men who had been fighting stop­ped and stood around watching Nido.
“None of the boys as­saulted the deceased,” he said.
Wagambie said the doctor’s autopsy report tendered by the state had not been officially confirmed with a signed affidavit by the doctor.
He said the unidentified doctor’s report simply said “in my opinion the accused died from head injuries due to impact of direct blunt force”.
He said the doctor had not been presented in court for cross examination.
“The doctor’s autopsy report could not verify the cause of death – whether the deceased died as a result of injuries he sustained directly from being hit by the stick or when he fell down to the ground and hit a hard surface or some other cause,” Wagambie said.
“If the court is not to give weighty consideration to the medical autopsy report, then we submit the de­ceased died of other causes and not based on the doctor’s opinion.”
He called on the court not to convict for wilful murder.
“It is, therefore, submitted that all the accused charged with wilful murder should be found not guilty and acquitted of the said charge (of wilful murder) as the state has not proved beyond reasonable doubt that all five accused intended to kill and did cause the death of the deceased.
“They should instead be penalised with the lesser charges of unlawfully assaulting causing bodily harm under section 539 of the Criminal Code Act.”