A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced five persons to death by hanging for the kidnap and murder of Mr. Anthony Okoro.
The five defendants out of seven persons in suit number PHC/324/2017: Oluchi Charles, Miracle Anumuna, Ifeanyi Simon, Koko Basset, and Uchenna Stanley Amaechi, the seventh defendant, were convicted of the 10 charges preferred against them by the Inspector-General of Police bordering on conspiracy, stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder.
The fifth and sixth defendants, Chukwudi Etete and Anthony Ugwu respectively the mentioned in the suit were discharged and acquitted by the court.
It was gathered that the convicts had on May 26, 2016, attacked the home of Okoro in the Woji area of Port Harcourt, shot him, and took his body away.
The convicts were also said to have stolen a Range Rover Jeep, Kia Optimal Car, Televisions, an infinix phone, and other valuables belonging to the victim.
The trial judge, Justice George Omereji, in his verdict Tuesday, held that the prosecution was able to prove his case that the first to fourth and seventh defendants were as guilty as charged in the matter.
Omereji discharged and acquitted the fifth (Etete) and sixth (Ugwu), stating that the prosecution could not prove that they had knowledge of the crime, rather they bought phones belonging to the victim by mistake.
He also held that the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy against the convicts in law, adding that it was proven that the convicts had met at the Genesis area of Woji in Port Harcourt and planned the operation and kidnapped Okoro.
Also, Justice Omereji noted that the prosecution proved that the death of the victim was caused by the convicts.
He said that Okoro was shot in his arm and taken away alongside his cars and other valuables by the convicts.
The trial judge gave his verdict relying on Section 410 of the Administration of Criminal Justice 2011, adding that they should be held on the rope till they are confirmed dead.
Responding after the judgement, the Prosecution Counsel, I. Ubulom, has described the judgement as justice.
He added that the verdict would serve as a deterrent to others involved in criminal activities.