The Supreme Court sitting in Abuja, has affirmed the death sentence on a primary school teacher in Imo State, Mrs Chifoanu Virginia Okorie, over her involvement in the gruesome murder in 2005, of a community leader and retired police officer, Nze Dominic Ohamadiaku Duru in Izombe, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.
Delivering judgment in suit number: SC/640/2014, between Chifoanu Okorie and the State, John Inyang Okoro, leading other four justices of the Supreme Court, dismissed Mrs Okorie’s appeal to have the decision of the Owerri Court of Appeal overturned. In aligning itself with the 17th July, 2014 decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri (which affirmed the earlier death sentence passed on Mrs Okorie and seven others by an Owerri High Court), the nation’s apex court put the final judicial seal on the fate of the appellant by dismissing the appeal brought before it, describing it as devoid of any “scintilla of merit.”
In his background to the judgment, he explains: “This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Owerri Division, delivered on 17th July, 2014 wherein the Court affirmed the conviction and sentence to death of the appellant by the High Court of Imo State, held at Owerri for the offence of murder. The appellant was one of the nine accused persons charged with murder contrary to section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 30 Vol. 11 Laws of Eastern Nigeria 1963 as applicable to Imo State of Nigeria…”
“At the hearing of this appeal on 21st September, 2017, the learned Senior counsel for the appellant DC Denwigwe SAN, leading others, identified, adopted and relied on their brief of argument filed on 10/2/15. The five issues formulated are contained on page 2, which states as follows: Was the Court of Appeal right in upholding the decision of the trial court to rely on the evidence of Dr Gogo Abite, PW4 in arriving at the conclusion that the conviction of the appellant by the trial court was right and sustainable? Was the Court of Appeal right when it upheld the decision of the learned trial Judge which rejected the evidence of Dr Egejuru (PW7) and refused to rely on the autopsy report issued by Dr Egejuru, regarding the cause of death of the deceased? Was the Court of Appeal right when it came to the conclusion that medical evidence was not sine qua non for establishing the guilt of the appellant in the circumstance of this case? Whether
sustaining the conviction of the appellant for the offence of murder,
did not in the circumstance, constitute a denial of the appellant’s
constitutional right to fair hearing? Was the Court of Appeal right
when it proceeded to sustain the conviction of the appellant by the
trial court in the circumstance of this case?”
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