by ‘Jola Sotubo
A man found guilty of killing his wife has attempted to justify his actions by claiming he was insane at the time of committing the act.
Edet Okon, is said to have stated that he stabbed his wife to death in the middle of the night because he had typhoid and was not with is senses.
Two of the convict’s family members also testified that mental illness was a common trait in the Okon family.
However, the Court of Appeal, in confirming the judgment of a lower court, decided that the convict’s defence had no merit and as such he was sentenced to die by hanging.
The Sun reports:
Okon, who had earlier been found guilty of the offence of murder by a Lagos State High Court and sentenced to death by hanging, had approached the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal in 2010 to reverse the decision of the lower court.
But in a unanimous judgement, the Court of Appeal said it found no merit in Appeal No. CA/L/553/10 and dismissed it. Justice Ikyegh, who read the lead judgement, held that Mrs. Okon’s blood was crying for vengeance and the “appellant should reap what he has sown blood for blood.”
The condemned man had claimed at the court that he was insane at the time he stabbed his wife to death with a ‘spoon’ in the dead of the night. Two family members had also testified to the claim of insanity, saying madness ran in the Okon family.
But the court disbelieved the evidence adduced in Okon’s favour, convicted him of murder and ordered that, “you be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.”
Dissatisfied with the court’s verdict, Okon decided to take his plea of insanity a step higher by approaching the Court of Appeal to pronounce that the lower court erred when it discountenanced his defence of not being in control of himself when the incident occurred.
But the appeal panel held in its judgement that the lower court was right in rejecting the plea of insanity, asserting that the defence did not hold water.
The burden of proving insanity, the Court of Appeal said, was entirely on the appellant. Okon, the court held, failed to discharge the burden on him to prove that he was not only insane, but was also not in control of himself at the time of committing the offence.
Holding that, ‘medical evidence is sine qua non for proof of insanity’, the justices of the Court of Appeal said there was no medical evidence to prove the state of the mind of the appellant at the point of the offence.
Okon’s evidence that he suffered typhoid and suddenly woke up at night and engaged in a struggle with his wife, the court held, was rightly rejected by the lower court.