There was mixed reactions, on Monday, at the Bayelsa State High Court 2, as Justice Margret Akpomiemien discharged and acquitted two accused persons standing trial for armed robbery while an accused person was sentenced to death by hanging for murder.
Sele Ogori, 25, and Prince Obi, 24, were arrested on May 10, 2015 over a robbery incident and were subsequently charged to Court. Justice Akpomiemiein, in her ruling, said the prosecution, led by Special prosecutor on violent Crimes and other related offences, Andrew Seweniowor Arthur failed to its case against the accused person beyond reasonable doubt and therefore discharged and acquitted them.
On hearing the pronouncement of the trail Judge, the two accused persons shook and hugged each other in the dock while the Mr. and Mrs. Ogori could not contain their joy and rushed out of the court to hug each other and make calls to family members to informed them that Sele had been pronounced innocent and freed.
However, it was a sad day for Okilo family as 27-year-old Kurotimi Clarkson Okilo aka Oyyo was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Executive Secretary of the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC), Simeon Akpane, at Bethel Church, off Otiotio Road, Yenezue-Gene. Justice Akpomiemien before her judgement had revised the arguments of the prosecution and the defence since December 10 2014 when the trail commenced.
Investigations revealed that though Okilo and Freedom Allen were charged to Court for murder contrary to Section 247(1) of the Criminal Code Law, Cap. C14 Laws of Bayelsa State, 2006, Allen escaped from prison leaving the prosecution to forge ahead with only Okilo. In her judgement, Justice Akpomiemien declared that the prosecution had by the facts and argument presented established that all the three ingredients for a murder case were proved beyond reasonable doubt and therefore pronounced Okilo guilty.
“ I have considered the fact that the convict is first termer offender and the plea for mercy on his behalf by his counsel. But the fact of the matter is that the Court does not have discretional powers in the case. I therefore sentenced you to death by hanging. May the Lord mercy on your soul”
At the pronouncement of the death sentenced, the mother of the accused person, Mrs Okilo who was in Court burst into gentle sobs before she started crying as she attempts to go and touch her son where the prison wardens had brought him to stay. All her attempts to go and touch talk to her son was thwarted by the Policemen and prison wardens as she was bundled out of the Court room.
Arthur, in his remarks, commended the judiciary for standing firm to rid Bayelsa state of violent crimes. “I am completely satisfied with the Judgment of the Court. The Court came to the right decision that the accused person murdered Chief Simeon Akpane. To the accused person, this judgment is a de