A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Reuters

Lekan Shonde, a Lagos-based dockworker who killed his banker wife, Ronke Shonde, at their resident in Egbeda on May 6, 2016 has been sentenced to death by hanging by a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso passed down the judgment on the convict after founding him guilty of a one charge brought against him by the State government.

While delivering the judgment, the trial judge said that the state has proven its case beyond reasonable doubt, noting that the circumstantial evidence is clear that the deceased is defendant wife and they have two children.

“I cannot but hold the sudden provocation, the heat of passion and the retaliation. The violence used by the defendant was in excess of a reasonable man.”

The judge reiterated the analyses of the pathologist, Dr Shokunle Shoyemi which said that examination revealed old and fresh injuries on the deceased. She held that the bruises on the deceased cheek, blood collection in the brain, brain swelling and other multiple injuries could not have been by self-inflicted injuries.

“The defendant in the case was very economical with the truth stating that he only slapped her when he overheard his wife on a phone call praising the sexual prowess of a lover does not march the degree of autopsy report.

“In the light of overwhelming evidence against the defendant, the court is satisfied that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The act was intentionally done. I found the defendant guilty.”

Justice Oyefeso held that, section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 prescribed that the person who commits murder shall be sentenced to death.

“In line with section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015, this is the sentence of the court upon you Olalekan Shonde, that you are to be hang in the neck until you are dead. May the Lord have mercy on you.”

Newsmen report that Shonde’s deceased wife, Ronke’s 36 years old lifeless body was discovered in their apartment on May 6, 2016 and Shonde was charged for alleged murder by the state.

He was arraigned on October 24, 2017 and the prosecution alleged that Shonde committed the offence at 8:30p.m. on May 5, 2016 at his residence in Tiemo Street, Egbeda, Lagos.

During trial, the prosecution called six witnesses and tendered various exhibits.

However, Shonde, in his defense told the court that he married Ronke legally.

He told the court that, his wife whom he was referring to as “Adunni” was sleeping on the couch in the sitting room with her phone while he was leaving home on that day of the incident.

He had further told the court that he heard his wife speaking to one Kayode on the phone a day to her death, telling him how sweet he made love to her. He slapped her on the wall.

After he was found guilty before the judge sentenced him, Shonde’s counsel, A. Mohammed, in his allocutus plead for mercy. He said, “My Lord, there are two children from the marriage. I know as a matter of fact, these two children have passed through a worse moment of their life, agonies that are immeasurable. I know if these two children have any control in this proceeding, it will be that their father should not be prosecuted at all, but since not; their wish is that their father be sentenced on a very liberal term.

“The defendant has no criminal record; he has developed series of failing health since his detention.

“This defendant hardly sees very well again, he sees faintly. My Lord, he is hypertensive and the authority of the prison can confirm.

The prosecution counsel however urged the court to deliver judgment accordingly.

“I agree we are not aware of any past criminal record of the defendant but in view of the conviction for this charge, there is a punishment, we only ask the court to apply it.”

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