KAZEEM OMOPUPA v THE STATE (CA/IL/C.79/2006) [2007] NGCA 4 (5 December 2007)

In The Court of Appeal

(Ilorin Judicial Division)

On Thursday, the 6th day of December, 2007

Suit No: CA/IL/C.79/2006


Before Their Lordships

HELEN MORONKEII OGUNWUMIJU ....... Justice, Court of Appeal

JUMMAI HANNATU SANKEY ....... Justice, Court of Appeal

IGNATIUS IGWE AGUBE ....... Justice, Court of Appeal


KAZEEM OMOPUPA                             …….. Appellants


THE STATE                          …………………   Respondents


UMMAI HANNATU SANKEY, J.C.A. (Delivering the Leading Judgment): The Appellant herein, KazeemOmopupa, was arraigned before the High Court of Justice, Ilorin, coram Hon. Justice M.A. Afolayan, on a one count charge that read thus:

'That you KazeemOmopupa and 2 other now at large on or about the 15th day of March, 2003 at about 11.40 hours at No. 1A Obangede Road, Adewole Estate, Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court whilst armed with a gun attacked and robbed one Alhaji Mustapha Alabi of two necklaces, one size a tennis shoes, 2 rings, two Motorola handsets (V70 and V-66) and the sum of about N99,000.00 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section '(2) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap 398 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, '1990."


The Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge and the matter went to full trial. In the course of hearing, three witnesses testified for the prosecution. The Appellant testified in his defence but called no other witness. Thereafter, both learned Counsel for the accused, and the State addressed the Court on the issues of facts and law arising.

At the close of trial, the learned trial Judge convicted the Appellant as charged and sentenced him to death by hanging. It is against this conviction and sentence that the Appellant has now appealed. He filed four original Grounds of Appeal along with his Notice of Appeal, and four Additional Grounds which are set out hereunder shorn of their particulars:


1. The learned trial judge erred in law by holding that the prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt, when this was not so thereby wrongly convicting the accused person.

2. The learned trial judge erred in law when he held thus:

"The difference in the date of arrest of the accused is not so material and PW3's evidence that more than N100,000 cash was stolen from Alhaji Mustapha, whereas the charge sheet says N99,000 is also not material in view of the evidence of the prosecution that there was a robbery and some of the items were recovered from the accused."

3. The learned trial judge erred in law by holding that "Having watched the demeanour of the accused in general and particularly at this stage and the contradictory evidence as to the description of the house of the man who sold the mobile phone to him, the court has a cause to disbelieve the accused and I hold that he not a witness of truth. "

4. The conviction of the convict is all together unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence before the trial court.


5. The learned trial judge misdirected himself on the facts in holding

"Secondly, the two Motorola handsets V700 and V60 that were said to be stolen during the robbery, PW3was able to give account of how the two phones got to a mobile phone Technician Applied Technology Services also a friend to Alhaji Mustapha, who recorded the particulars of the Motorola phones when Alhaji Mustapha brought them from USA and took them to him to help him unlock the phones, when the same phones were brought some months later by this accused for repairs the technician was able to detect them through the particulars of the phone he already recorded and he alerted Alhaji Mustapha which led to the arrest of this accused who gave the two Motorola sets to the Applied Technology Services. He said the phone dropped and got damaged and he took it to the Applied Technology Services for repairs. The same phone that was stolen during robbery was found with accused. This raises a prima facie linkage with the alleged robbery, this calls for credible evidence from accused to establish that he came about the handsets in an honest manner".

6. The Learned trial judge erred in law in holding that:

"The accused was accompanied by the police to the house of the person he alleged sold the mobile phone to him. PW2 in his evidence said the accused confessed to him that the phones were part of his share of the robbery proceed and the accused took them to the house of the gang leader who he referred as "Aka" alias Alhaji but that one escaped"


7. The learned trial judge erred in law in treating the accused as an unreliable witness and in disbelieving his testimony thereby reaching the conclusion to convict him based on the evidence of the prosecution.

8. The learned trial judge erred in law in convicting the accused principally on the testimony of the PW3when from his own (PW3's) showing his testimony is incredible, unintelligible and unworthy of belief.

The Appellant'91s Brief of Argument in respect of the Appeal is dated 26th February 2007 and deemed filed on the 13th March, 2007. At the hearing of the Appeal, Mr. Bello, learned Counsel for the Appellant, adopted the Appellant'91s Brief of Arguments. He made a few brief oral submissions and cited the additional authority of Ndidi v. The State (2007) 5 SCNJ 274 at 287. He prayed the Court to allow the Appeal. The Respondent'91s Brief of Argument dated 5th March, 2007 was filed on  the same date. Learned Director of Public Prosecution for the Respondent, Mr. J. A. Mumini, also adopted the Respondent'91s Brief of Argument and made a few brief oral submissions wherein he cited the additional authority of The State VNnoli(1994) 5 NWLR'abPt. 345) 394 at 414. He urged the Court not to reverse the Judgment of the trial Court.

In his written Brief of Argument, the Appellant identified the following two issues for the determination of the Court in this


1. Whether the learned trial Judge was right in holding that the guilt of the accused person was proved beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

Grounds 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8.

2. Whether the trial Court properly appraised the evidence before it especially the defence of the accused person and came to the right conclusion in respect thereof. Grounds 3, 6 and 7.

Learned Counsel for the Respondent agreed with him on the issues arising for determination. I have examined the issues formulated and I also agree that they aptly cover all the grounds upon which the Appellant is appealing the Judgement of the trial Court. I therefore adopt them as the issues to be determined in this Appeal and proceed to post-haste determine same.

Issue One.

Whether the learned trial Judge was right in holding that the guilt of the accused person was proved beyond reasonable doubt.Grounds 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8.

Mr. Bello has submitted that the prosecution failed to prove its case as required by law, i.e. beyond reasonable doubt, and consequently the trial Court was in serious error in convicting the Appellant as charged. He contended that the prosecution failed to prove all the ingredients of the offence, especially the fact that it was the Appellant who committed the robbery. He submitted that from the record, no arrest was made at the scene of crime until several months later. There was a conflict in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses as to the dates of the alleged robbery, when it was discovered that the Appellant took the handset to Applied Technology for repairs and the arrest of the Appellant.

Secondly, learned Counsel contended that from the search on the Appellant's house, only the mobile phone and the ring case recovered was traced to him. The Appellant took the police to the home of the person who sold the handset to him and gave him the ring case as a gift. Unfortunately, the person escaped from the police. He therefore submitted that the defence of the Appellant that he bought the handset from Gbenga who also gave him the ring case as a gift has created a doubt about his participation in the robbery. This doubt must be resolved in favour of the Appellant. He relied on Azeez v. the State (2006) All FWLR(Pt. 337) 485 at 498 and Namsoh v. The State (1993) 5 NWLR (Pt.128) 129.


Learned Counsel again submitted that the sole witness who identified the Appellant did not state that he knew the Appellant prior to the day of the alleged robbery. Also there was no identification parade to ascertain whether the Appellant was well known to the PW3 so as to avoid the possibility of mistaken identity. Since PW3 did not identify the offenders at the scene of crime until December, 2005, it was wrong for the trial Court to rely on his evidence of identification in convicting the Appellant. He relied on DanladiAbdullahi v. The State (2005) ALL FWLR (Pt.263) 698 at 718. He submitted that there was no corroboration of the evidence of the PW3as to the identity of theAppellant. It is the contention of learned Counsel that it is incumbent on the prosecution to call witnesses whose evidence are material such as the policemen who effected the arrest of the Appellant, Alhaji Mustapha the victim, especially as the Appellant denied in his testimony that the PW3was not one of those who came to his place of work to affect his arrest, (Page36 of the record). On the authority of NmaDogo V The State (2001) 5 NSCQR 307 at 330, learned Counsel submitted that where the quality of the evidence of identification is poor, it would be unsafe to convict on it.

Learned Counsel further submitted that the trial Court ought to have considered how unreasonable it was for the Appellant to have given his correct identity, including his name and address, to the man at the Applied Technology if he knew that the phone was the product of a robbery in which he took part as same could be used in tracing him. He referred to page 32 of the record where the learned trial Judge found the Appellant to be a truthful witness in relation to the confessional statement which was rejected. Again at page 43 of the record, the learned trial Judge found him to be a truthful witness in relation to all the exhibits except Exhibit 13, a Jincheng Motorcycle. Learned Counsel submitted that, in any case, lying is not proof of guilt in a criminal trial, and it does not relieve the prosecution of the duty of proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The evidence against the Appellant must not fall short of that needed to warrant the conclusion that he participated in the robbery. He relied on Ogidi v The State (2005) ALL FWLR(Pt. 251) 202 at 224-225.


Learned Counsel went on to submit that the trial Court relied heavily on section 149 of the Evidence Act and circumstantial evidence to convict the Appellant. It failed to however consider the circumstantial evidence which created doubt in the evidence of the prosecution. He contended that there were fundamental inconsistencies in the testimony of the PW3in respect of the date of arrest of the Appellant. He submitted that the Appellant was arrested in December, 2005 and not January, 2004. Also, since the PW3testified that the victim, Alhaji Mustapha Alabi, comes home once a year, (page 33 of the record), and he could not have been home again in December of the same year. It is his contention that due to these inconsistencies in the evidence of the PW3, his testimony ought to have been considered unreliable, more so as PW3 was not mentioned as a victim in the charge against the Appellant. Consequently, learned Counsel  case was not proved beyond reasonable doubt, relying on the cases of Onugbogu V The State (1974) 1 ALL NLC (Pt.2) 5 and Dibie v. The State (2005) ALL FWLR (Pt.259) 1995 at 2015-2016. He urged the Court to also resolve this issue in favour of the Appellant and to upturn the Judgment of the trial Court.


On his own part, Mr. Mumini, learned DPP for the Respondent, submitted that in a criminal trial, where the prosecution is required to prove the guilt of an accused person beyond reasonable doubt, once it proves all the ingredients of the offence, that burden is taken to have been met in law. On the authority of Nasiru v The State (1999) 1 SCNJ 83 at 94 and NkudaEdamine v. The State (1996) 3-4 MAC 147, proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond every shadow of doubt. He listed out the ingredients of the offence of armed robbery for which the Appellant was convicted under Section 1(2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act Cap 398 LFN, 1990 thus:

(i) That there was a robbery.

(ii) That the accused person was armed with dangerous weapons at thetime of commission of the offence.

(iii) That the accused person before the Court was the person who committed the offence.

For this, he relied on the case of Bozin v. The State (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt. 8) 465 at 467. In respect of the first and second ingredients of the offence, learned Counsel referred to the testimony of the PW3at page 33 of the record, which he said was unchallenged, that there was a robbery attack in their home on 15th March, 2005 at about midnight wherein money and valuables were carted away by robbers who were armed with guns. In respect of the third ingredient, PW3, a victim of the robbery, stated that the Appellant, along with three others, broke into the house through the door and ordered him to use the key to open the door which they had already damaged. They came with short guns, pointed same at him and ordered him to take them to Alhaji Mustapha's room. The Appellant took him outside and promised not to kill anyone if he cooperated by showing them where Alhaji Mustapha kept his money. He recognized the Appellant at Lubcon, his work place because, on the day of the robbery the fluorescent light was on and so, he was able to identify him to the police as the person who had spoken to him on the night of the robbery. Learned DPP submitted that the evidence of a witness, where cogent, compelling and direct, as in this case, is sufficient to ground a conviction. He relied on Imo v. The State (2001) 1 NWLR (Pt. 694) 314; Onuegbu v. The State (1995) 4 NWLR (Pt. 391) 510 at 529-530; Ali V the State (2003) ACLR581 at 597 and The State v. Ajie (2000) 7 SC 1 at 33. The learned DPP contended that the Appellant did not offer any evidence to contradict the version of the robbery incident given by the PW3 and same was not discredited under cross examination. He submitted that evidence which is not challenged through cross-examination nor controverted by other evidence and which is by itself not incredible is qualified to be accepted and acted upon.

On Alhaji Mustapha, while agreeing that his evidence would have been relevant, the learned DPP referred to page 34 of the record where his absence was properly explained. It is his further submission that the non-calling of Alhaji Mustapha as a witness has not affected the case of the prosecution as the law does not require the prosecution to call every witness present at the locus criminis. It is only required to call witnesses who would give relevant evidence in proof of its case. He relied on Iziren v. The State (2001) 1 SC (Pt.1) 3812. Learned DPP submitted that the learned trial Judge did not convict the Appellant solely on the evidence of the PW3 but also on the evidence that months after the robbery, a handset and a ring case, (Exhibit 9), stolen during the robbery were recovered from the Appellant. The Appellant never denied that they were found in his, possession. Instead, he admitted that he took the Motorola handset which belonged to Alhaji Mustapha to Applied Technology for repairs. Learned DPP submitted that, by the doctrine of recent possession under Section 149 (a) of the Evidence Act, the Appellant, having failed to lead any satisfactory and credible evidence as to how he came about the stolen items found in his possession, is presumed to be one of the armed robbers who robbed the premises. He relied on Madawa v. The State (1988) 12 SC (Pt.1) 68 at 94-95. He submitted further that PW3 was able to recognise the Appellant and to see that the robbers were armedwith short guns as a result of the fluorescent light that was on at the time of the robbery. His evidence was corroborated by the fact that two of the items stolen during the robbery, i.e. Exhibit 9 and the Motorola handset, were recovered from the Appellant who has not denied this but has given contradictory evidence as to how he got the items. He urged the Court to hold that the trial Court was right to have held that the guilt of the Appellant was proved beyond reasonable doubt and to resolve the 1st issue in favour of the Respondent.

From the evidence adduced, it would appear that the learned trial Judge convicted the Appellant based mainly on the testimony of the PW3 which he believed, and the fact that the Motorola handset and the ring case stolen during the robbery were recovered from the Appellant. The conviction was therefore premised on both direct evidence, (being the alleged eyewitness testimony of PW3),coupled with the circumstantial evidence. I will first direct my attention to the evidence of BabatundeKazeem. He testified as PW3at the trial Court. He alleged that on the night of the incident, he was asleep in the living room of Alhaji Mustapha's house when armed robbers attacked. It is as a consequence of this that he was able to identify the Appellant as one of the two robbers who came to the house. Due to the pivotal nature of the testimony of this witness and the issues raised in the Respondent's Brief, I have used a magnifying glass to examine the background to his appearing as a witness in the suit. From page 3 of the transcribed record of the trial Court, it is apparent from the face of the charge, (which has been reproduced earlier in the body of this Judgment), that this witness was not mentioned as a victim of the armed robbery incident. The only victim of the robbery mentioned in the charge is Alhaji Mustapha. Secondly, pages 3 and 4 of the record of the trial Court set out the proofs of evidence and the list of witnesses who were to be called to establish the truth of the charge  against the Appellant. Again, BabatundeKazeem, the PW3 is neither listed as a potential witness nor is the evidence he was supposed to give set out. It was only subsequently that the State, (Respondent herein), brought an application to call an additional witness, BabatundeKazeem. This application, which was not opposed, was granted and the PW3 was introduced into the case. Since there is no appeal on this score, no more will be said on it save for the inferences which am obliged to draw based on the critical nature of his evidence before the Court.


It is the evidence of the PW3 that the incident took place at midnight of 15th March, 2006. Two robbers broke into the house armed with guns which he described as short, (as opposed to long). They ordered him to open the door to the entrance of the house with a key and the Appellant took him outside and threatened him. Subsequently, when the Appellant was traced to his work place, PW3 was able to immediately identify him because, from his account, on the day of the robbery, the fluorescent light was on and he saw the two robbers. From this piece of evidence, it is apparent that PW3 did not know the Appellant prior to the night of the robbery. He did not see the Appellant again until the date of his arrest, at least 10 months later. Yet he was able to make a positive identification of the Appellant as the person he saw momentarily on the night of the robbery. The question this raises is that, having not known the Appellant prior to the date of the robbery, should the trial Court have acted on his identification of the Appellant by the PW3 without an identification parade having been being held? Generally, identification evidence is evidence, which tends to show that the person charged with the offence is the same as the person who was seen committing the offence. When, therefore, a trial Court is faced with making a finding on the identification evidence before it, it is obliged to ensure and be well satisfied that the evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that the accused before the court was the person to the exclusion of any other who actually committed the offence with which he is charged. See Patrick Ikemson v.The State (1989) CLRN 1 at 24. The law is settled that the question whether an accused person was properly identified is a question of fact to be considered by the trial Court and it is not in every case that an identification parade is essential. See the case of Jonathan Igbi& another v The State (2000) 2 SCNJ 63.         An identification parade is however useful and indeed essential whenever there is a doubt about the power of a witness to recognise an accused person or when the identity of the accused person is in dispute. It is not necessary where the witness knew or was familiar with the accused or suspect well before the time the alleged crime was committed. See SegunBalogun v. Attorney General of Ogun State (2002) 2 SCNJ 196; Kenneth Oguala v. The State (1991) 3 SCNJ 143. Where there is clear evidence linking the accused person with the crime alleged it will not be necessary to carry out an identification parade. Emmanuel Ugwumba v The State (1993) 6 SCNJ 217. Consequently, as a rule, an identification parade is not a sine qua non for the identification of suspects in every case where there has been a fleeting encounter with the victim of the crime, if there is any other piece of evidence leading overwhelmingly to the identity of the perpetrator of the crime.      An identification parade only becomes necessary in the following situations of visual identification:

(i) where the victim did not know the accused person before and his first acquaintance with him is during the commission of the offence;

(ii) where the victim was confronted by the offender for a very short time; and

(iii) where the victim, due to time and circumstances, might not have had the full opportunity of observing the features of the accused.

Whenever any of these situations Occur, it is vital that a proper identification parade takes into account the following:

(a) the description of the accused given to the police shortly after the commission of the offence;

(b) the opportunity the victim had of observing the accused; and

(c) the features of the accused noted by the victim and communicated to the police which marks the accused from other persons.

See R. v. Turnbull (1976) ALL ER 549; Ikemson v. The State (Supra);

MaikudiAliyu v.The State (2007) ALL FWLR (Pt.388) 1123.

In the instant case, the learned trial judge believed the PW3 on his identification evidence and these were his reasons as stated at page 40 of the record of appeal:

"Now, on how this accused was linked with the robbery, PW3 said the whole of their street was attacked by armed robbers that night and they lied down face down for about two hours that night while the robbers were operating. He said the two people that came to their house had short guns in their hands and they pointed the guns at him and ordered him to take them to Alhaji Mustapha's room, which he did... That the light was on so he could recognise this accused very well and in fact immediately he was brought out at his working place (Lubcon) he quickly recognize (sic) him and identified him to the police that it was the same boy that ordered him to use the key to open the door, took him outside and told him to cooperate. This is the first link. Brightness, locus and distance are paramount for identification and here, these three factors are in favour of the prosecution as the accused was easily recognised by PW3. So I do not believe the evidence of the accused that he was seeing the PW3 for the 1st time in court."

The PW3 made no pretence of knowing the Appellant before the incident. After Alhaji Mustapha and PW3 lodged a complaint of the robbery at the Adewole Police Station, nothing more was heard of police investigation until Alhaji Mustapha, who is apparently resident in America, returned in December, 2003. It was only then that he was told by his friend at Applied Technology that someone had brought his Motorola handset, stolen in the robbery 10 months before to be unlocked and the person's name and address had been taken down. On a further report to the police, PW3 ostensibly accompanied the police officers to the address given. These are his words on the identification saga at page 33 of the record:

"We followed the police, the name of the person which he filled on the form with Applied Technology is KazeemOmopupa. As they brought him out and I saw him I quickly remembered his face and identified him as the person who took me out that I should open the main door and when we got outside he was the one that told me to cooperate and tell him where Alhaji kept his money."

My concern with this testimony is that the PW3 did not know the Appellant before the date of the robbery incident. After the robbery, he gave no  description of any of the assailants to the police to aid in tracing and/or identifying them when the report was lodged. Such a description at the earliest opportunity may have helped in jolting his memory at a later date and helped the police to cross check and confirm the veracity of his identification at a later date, especially in the absence of any corroborative testimony to that effect. He only identified the Appellant after he was shown a particular person who was said to bear the name and address retrieved from the man at Applied Technology. What this suggests to me, (in the absence of any corroboration), is that the PW3 would have readily identified anyone presented to him bearing that name and at the given address since it had already been alleged that it was the person bearing that name and at that address who was in possession of the stolen Motorola handset.

In this case it happened to be the Appellant and so the PW3 rubber-stamped the suggestion that he was one of the armed robbers. The snag here is that the Appellant had a feasible and reasonable explanation as to how he came to be in possession of the handset as well as the ring case, Exhibit 9. This explanation was that he bought same from one Gbenga who equally gave him the ring case as a gift. It must be remembered that no ring was recovered from the Appellant, even though two rings were alleged to be among the items stolen.


The Appellant proceeded to take the police to the said Gbenga. However, Gbenga, who seemed to have come by the handset and the ring case in a manner that must have been less than honest, boldly escaped from three armed policemen just like the famous Houdini, the great escapist. Having allowed Gbenga to slip through their fingers, the police now latched onto the Appellant as if their lives depended on it and proceeded to extract a confession from him by means of beatings and torture until he was at the point of death. Wisely, the learned trial Judge threw out the alleged confessional statement obtained under duress, torture and threats of death. The fact however remains that the identification of the Appellant by the PW3 under these circumstances was never tested to confirm its veracity or otherwise. Alhaji Mustapha, the named victim in the case, never testified. The police did not deem it necessary to conduct an identification parade in this case when all the indices in the cake pointed to the necessity for one.


There were other issues. Upon being furnished with the name and address of the Appellant as the person who took the handset to Applied Technology for repairs, one would have expected the police to proceed to first invite him for questioning or even to arrest him. Once they had him in their custody, they could have then proceeded to get the eyewitness, PW3, to make a positive identification of him from a lineup of people similarly attired and/or of similar height, weight and age as the Appellant. This would have eliminated the possibility that the PW3 was merely influenced by the fact that he was confronted with only the Appellant as the very person who had taken the handset for repairs. In my view, in the absence of any corroboration, this was not a proper identification of the Appellant and cannot lead to the inexorable and irresistible conclusion that he was one of the robbers on the night in question.


This leads me to the next issue of the doctrine, of recent possession in respect of the ring case. At page 41 of the Judgment, the lower Court found that the recovery of two items stolen in the robbery with the Appellant raises the presumption that he either took part in the alleged robbery or had received them knowing that they were stolen. Section 149(a) of the Evidence Act which codifies this common law doctrine states thus:

"149. The court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, recourse being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct and public and private business, in relation to the facts of the particular case; and in particular the court may presume -

(a) that a man who is in possession of stolen goods soon after the theft is either the thief or has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession."


Where facts are not proved directly, but are inferred from facts that have been proved, the inference is called a presumption of fact expressed in Latin as Presumptiohominis. A presumption of fact is rebuttable by evidence. Any presumption under this section is an inference from circumstantial evidence. However, for circumstantial evidence to ground conviction in a criminal case, such evidence must be cogent, conclusive and positive. Therefore, the presumption in the opening statement of paragraph 140 of the Evidence Act can only be drawn where the facts are overwhelming and the accused is unable to account for his possession of goods recently stolen. This is because where the accused is not able to explain the circumstances of his possession of the stolen goods, the inference that he is the thief is conclusive and must be drawn. However, where the totality of the evidence and the surrounding circumstances do not support the inference that the accused was the thief or receiver of the stolen goods, the presumption cannot be drawn. Therefore, the essential elements that are required to draw this presumption are:

(i) It must be established that the goods are stolen.

(ii) The accused must have been found in possession.

(iii) The possession must have been soon after the theft.

(iv) The accused is unable to account for his possession of goods recently stolen.

To successfully invoke this doctrine, it is essential to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the goods were in the possession of the accused.

Secondly, the proximity of the time of possession to the theft is an essential component of this presumption. In some cases, 90 minutes was held to be soon enough and in some cases a few hours. See Nwachukwu v.The State (1985) 3 NWLR (Pt.11) 218. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Where there is enough explanation as to how the property came by, the presumption will not apply. However, the Supreme Court has taken it a step further in The State v. Nnolim (1994) 6 SCJN 48; (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt.345) 394 at 410, where Adio, JSC held that:


"An explanation by the accused person of the way in which a stolen property came into his possession which might be reasonably true and which is consistent with innocence, although the court may not be convinced of its truth would displace the presumption."

An accused person may thus rebut the presumption by giving evidence on a balance of probability and therefore, when the explan

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