A High Court in Plateau on Wednesday acquitted a 40-year-old prison warden Morris Mustapha of the death of his wife, Mrs Delphine Lot, and their domestic staff, Miss Nankloeloeling Daboer.
The judge, Mrs Christine Dabup, while acquitting the accused person said that the prosecution did not prove it’s case beyond reasonable doubt to suggest that the accused actually committed the crime.
“There are three grounds to which the court has to rely on to convict an accused person, there has to be evidence that the victims actually died, the accused caused the death of the victims and the accused’s act caused their death.
“In this case the prosecution failed to provide evidence on all the three that the accused gave a porous alibi.
“The accused claimed he was not in Jos on the day the victims died and the police did not investigate to prove his claims, they did not provide evidence that he was actuallyat the crime scene.
“It will be dangerous to convict the accused person based on mere suspicion, the prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused person was in 2013 charged with two count of culpable homicide punishable with death under section 321 of the Penal Code.
The police had told the court that the accused person committed the crime on Oct. 30, 2013 when he strangulated both his wife and their house help at their home located at Van, Lamingo, Jos.
The police said that the accused strangled his wife then used a sharp object to cut the back of her neck then thereafter strangled their maid who lived with them.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Mustapha in his statement to the police said that he married his late wife in 2012 when she lost her husband, a former Assistant Comptroller of Customs and had always had disagreements with her on how to ‘govern’ their home but always settled.
“I was living at her house in Lamingo but i packed out sometime in 2013 and relocated to Kangang Dadin Kowa where i got a place for myself.
“I was with her together with a court bailiff on Oct. 29 and left at about past 3pm, at about 6pm i went to my house in Kangang, Dadin Kowa to pick a document which i needed to travel to Abuja with, i left for Abuja by 8pm.
The accused in his statement said that his immediate boss at the office gave him an oral permission to travel to Abuja while he was on transit and got the news of his wife’s death the next day at about 10pm when he returned.
When interrogated on injuries he had on his hand and leg, Morris explained in the statement that he sustained both injuries at home when he was wading off his dog on Oct. 26 and on Oct. 28 while at work when he scaled the fence to get keys he forgot in his office.
Uncle to the deceased, Mr Linus Bentu in a statement to the police said that the couple had a troubled marriage riddled with domestic violence.
Bentu in his statement said that; “I happened to live with them in Lamingo Village in 2012, while there they had a misunderstanding and her husband Morris beat her mercilessly where she sustained serious injuries on her face.
“I intervened in the matter and retrieved her phone from him (Morris) which he had earlier seized, i later took her to the hospital for treatment.
Mr Monday Azi, a plumber who was supposed to work in the deceased home on the said date and who discovered the bodies said he found both women in the home dead at the time he arrived the house.
“I was supposed to fix some pipes in the toilet, i arrived at the house and nobody answered me, I noticed the back gate was left open and i decided to go through it, i also noticed the security lights were still on and the back door was not properly locked.
“I called my colleague to enter with me when i became suspicious and we discovered madam’s dead body on the stair case leading to the rooms upstairs and madam’s body downstairs.
“We informed our Ward Head and later to the police, “ he said.
Counsel to the accused, Mr Emmanuel Madaki, after the judgement said that it was a well considered judgement after all the pieces of evidence adduced by both the prosecution and defense were presented to the court.
Madaki added that the court had weighed and seived all evidence and arrived at the conclusion that his client indeed did not cause the death of the two deceased persons.
Prosecuting counsel, Director of Public Prosecution, Plateau State, D. D. Fomyol, while reacting to the judgement said that he was comfortable and convinced with the decision of the judge as she followed the law.
Fomyol however, stated that there was a porous investigation of the matter by the police before it was handed to them adding that they tried to rectify the problem but was too late.
He added that the police failed to prove if the alibi presented by the accused was indeed true.
He said that the judge saw so many gaps in between the evidence as they were not properly connected and there was no way a reasonable tribunal would rely on the prosecution’s evidence to get a conviction.
He added, In his words; “If it is true that the accused person committed the crime but because of certain lapses he is today not convicted, there is supreme judge, he cannot escape the judgement of God,” he said.