An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday sentenced a technician, Rasak Abiona, to death for beating his 62-year-old father to death with an iron rod during a dispute over property in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo delivered the judgment in a virtual hearing.
Justice Taiwo held that though the prosecution had presented circumstantial evidence against the middle-aged defendant during the trial, the state proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
She noted that the technician’s confessional statements to the police implicated him and that during the trial, the defendant did not present witnesses in court to back his claim that his father died after a fall.
Justice Taiwo sentenced Rasak, after finding him guilty of a charge of murder contrary to Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.
“This is a very unfortunate and sad case where a son kills his father.”
“There is no doubt that by hitting the deceased with an iron rod on the head, the defendant intended to cause grievous bodily harm.”
“The defendant could have easily overpowered his father, a 62-year-old man without hitting him on the head with an iron rod.”
“This case is a clear indication of what anger and impatience can do in a man’s life.”
“The court does not have a discretion to give a lesser punishment in a case of murder in view of Section 223 of the Criminal Law 2011.”
“I hereby sentence the defendant to death for killing his father, Sunday Abiona. This is the sentence of the court,” the judge said.
Earlier, before the sentence was delivered, the defence counsel, Mr Obinna Mbagho in his plea for mercy, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, noting that the Rasak was a first-time offender who had shown remorse.
“He has been in prison since 2013 and ever since his incarceration, his children have been scattered,” Mbagho said.
Opposing the plea for mercy, the prosecutor for the state, Mr Olakunle Ligali, requested for the maximum penalty for the crime.
“Under the Criminal Law of Lagos, when the crime has the ultimate penalty of death, the court has no discretion to mitigate the sentence.
“In fact, the court does not have a discretion to hear the plea for mercy,” Ligali said.
NAN reports that according to the prosecution, Rasak killed his father , Sunday, during a scuffle on Feb. 28, 2012 at the deceased’s residence at No. 22, Taiwo St., Ejigbo, Lagos.
During the trial, five witnesses testified for the prosecution including the brother of the deceased, Mr Lanre Abiona and two half-sisters of the defendant, Ms Kafilat Abiona and Ms Shakirat Abiona.
Other prosecution witnesses were a pathologist, Dr Moses Akpeniyi and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) ASP Festus Omoru.
The defendant did not call any witness to testify for him as testified solely in his defence.
Lanre in his evidence had told the court that the defendant had a long history of beating his father and that on one occasion, Rasak had beaten his father to the extent his teeth had fallen out.
Lanre noted that he had told his late brother on numerous occasions to disown his son, but he had refused.
Shakirat during the trial told the court that the physical altercation between her brother and father started because her brother had come to their father’s home wanting to view a copy of his will, but their father refused to oblige his request leading to a fight between the men.
The pathologist in his testimony, had told the court that the deceased had died from a brain hemorrhage caused by blunt force trauma caused by a heavy object hitting the skull.
Rasak in his defence, however, denied killing his father.
He claimed that his father had while drunk, fallen from the balcony of his home and had succumbed to the injuries sustained during the fall when he was taken to the hospital.