After five years of legal battle, a Port Harcourt High Court presided over by Justice Letam Nyordee on Monday sentenced ex-Sergeant Lucky Orji, and two others, Ikechukwu Louis Amadi a.k.a. Capoon and David Chinasa Ogbada, to death for the murder of four undergraduate students of the University of Port Harcourt.
The judge however discharged and acquitted four out of the seven accused persons who stood trial in the murder case.
The lucky ones are Àbiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ikpe, Cyril Abang and John Ayu,.
Bar and Bench Watch reports that four UNIPORT undergraduates: Lloyd Toku Mike, Ugonna Obuzor, Tekena Elkanah and Chiadaka Biringa, were murdered on October 5, 2012 at Umuokiri-Aluu community in Ikwerre local government area of Rivers State.
Delivering the judgement, which lasted for over two hours, Nyordee said the death sentence was in accordance with the provision of section 319 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Rivers State.
He stated that the prosecution failed to prove a case of involvement in the murder of the victims regarding the four who were discharged and acquitted persons.
But the judge held that the case of murder against the three others who were convicted, was overwhelming, saying, “I am therefore satisfied that their roles in the killing of the victims is unjustifiable and unlawful. Their actions are intended to kill the victims.”
Nyordee stated that throughout the trial, nobody presented himself as victims of robbery by the four boys, adding that it was a mob action.
He also struck out the objections raised by the defence counsel that the prosecution raised fresh issues in its final address, pointing out that the burden of proof as rightly raised by the defence counsel rested on the prosecution, which included facts and cause of death, which is unlawful and attributed to the defendants.
Also, on determining the issues raised regarding proof of evidence, the judge further held that the offence of murder is self-evident, pursuant to section 316 of the Evident Act.
Nyordee also held that though the prosecution did not bring any eyewitness to the actual killing of the boys, except for the video and confessional statements obtained during investigation, by the PW1, which was admitted in court, he held that the exhibits corroborated the findings of the Coroner test conducted by Dr Seleye Fubara, a pathologist.