You must die by hanging, Supreme Court tells Rev King
The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the concurrent judgments of a High Court of Lagos State and the Court of Appeal which slammed a death sentence on the General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Rev. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a.k.a Reverend King.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the apex court held that the two lower courts were right to have sentenced Rev Ezeugo to death by hanging for the murder of a member of his church.
The court, which resolved all the twelve issues the Reverend raised in his appeal against him, also said the first five count charges against the Rev Ezeugo was for attempted murder, with a penalty of 20 imprisonment, while the 6th count was for murder, which attracts a death sentence.
Justice Ngwuta, in the judgement held that the 20 years imprisonment for attempted murder was no longer necessary, adding however that, “From the fact of the case, the scene could have been taken from a horror movie.
“Having considered the arguments of parties in this matter, I am of the view that the appeal has no merit.
“The appeal is hereby dismissed and the judgment of the Lagos State High Court, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal is hereby affirmed”, Justice Ngwuta held in the unanimous judgment of the apex court.
Reacting to the judgment, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Lagos state, Mrs. Idowu Alakija told newsmen that justice has prevailed and that she was happy with the judgment of the apex court in the matter.
Counsel to the appellant, Mrs Ann Ibinola said the Supreme Court is the apex court of the land, adding that it’s decision will be abided with.
Rev Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (alias Reverend King) had challenged the judgement of a Lagos High Court sentencing him to death by hanging, which was affirmed by the Appellate court.
The apex court presided over by Justice Walter Onoghen had, late last year adjourned till yesterday for judgment after entertaining to arguments from counsel to prosecution and defence in the matter.
Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who appeared before the Supreme Court alongside Mrs. Idowu Alakija, the DPP, urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the judgment of the lower courts.
Ezeugo was arraigned on September 26, 2006 on a six-count charge of attempted murder and murder.
He pleaded not guilty to the allegation but was sentenced to death by the then Justice Joseph Oyewole of Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on January 11, 2007 for the murder of one of his church members, Ann Uzoh.
Justice Oyewole is now a judge of Appeal Court sitting in the Calabar division.
The Lagos State Government had said that the convict poured petrol on the deceased and five other persons and that Uzoh died on August 2, 2006; 11 days after the act was perpetrated on her, while the other five members of the church sustained various degrees of burns as a result of the act.
Specifically, Ezeugo was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the attempted murder and death by hanging for the offence of murder.
Dissatisfied, Ezeugo challenged the verdict before the Court of Appeal in Lagos, but the appeal was thrown out.
’’I hereby rule that the prosecution effectively discharged the burden of proof on it. This appeal is devoid of any basis and accordingly fails.
“The judgment of the High Court is hereby affirmed, and the conviction imposed on the appellant, (which is death by hanging) is also affirmed,” Justice Fatimo Akinbami who read the judgement held.
The two other members of the panel of Justices, Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa concurred with the lead judgement.
Again, Ezeugo not being satisfied with the verdict, approach the Supreme Court, and urged that the judgment be upturned.
The apex court, in its judgment yesterday held that the killer Reverend must die by hanging.