A Lagos High Court, Ikeja on Monday sentenced Mr. Obot Friday to four years imprisonment for beating his 11-year-old son, Michael, to death in September 2009.
Thirty-seven-year-old Friday was said to have beaten his son with a kitchen spatula (commonly called garri turner) at their residence Ikeja for refusing to sleep at home the previous day.
The deceased who was hit on the head was rushed to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, where he later died.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade in her judgment on Monday convicted Friday of manslaughter and ordered that the four-year jail term slammed on him would begin counting from October 9, 2009, which was when he had been on remand.
Akinlade said Friday’s confessional statement admitting hitting Michael with the spatula on his head which was the reason for which he was rushed to the hospital, was sufficient for the court to rely on to convict the accused.
“There is no evidence stronger than a person’s admission,” the judge said.
The court also relied on the post-mortem report, which according to the judge, was tendered without objection.
“In the totality of the case, the prosecution successfully proved the case of manslaughter against the defendant. There is no justification for the defendant’s action,” Akinlade held.
She said the prosecution, led by Mrs. Mariam Olaniyi, had successfully proved that it was the action of the convict that led to the death of the deceased, as “there is no evidence before me that the deceased was suffering from any ailment before the incident.”
Akinlade rejected the call by the defence asking the court not to rely on the post-mortem report tendered against the convict because the pathologist who carried out the test was not invited to testify in court.
She described such contradictions as “not cogent and material” to the substance of the case.
She also dismissed the argument that there were contradictions which the case of the prosecution failed to resolve as to what was actually used by the accused to beat the deceased.
She said, “There is no doubt that Michael Friday died. It is also not in doubt that his father hit him with an object. It is not in doubt that the defendant used an object to beat the deceased.
“It is also not in doubt that he fainted after he was hit by his father. There is no evidence before the court that the he (Friday) was suffering from any ailment before the incident.”
Friday’s wife and mother of the deceased, Mercy, a witness of the incident, who had refused to testify during trial, had on June 15, 2011 interrupted the proceedings, pleading with the court to stop the trial of her husband.
Mercy had said if her husband, who had claimed to be working with a Lagos-based catering outfit, was convicted, it would be difficult for her to cope with the aftermath.
The convict was said to have beaten the deceased at his residence, 61, Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the prosecution, the offence of manslaughter for which Friday was convicted contravenes Section 325 of the Criminal Code Law Cap C. Vol.2, Laws of Lagos State 2003.
In his statement before the court, Friday had claimed that he was angered by the deceased’s attitude when being questioned on why he left home without permission.
He stated further that the reaction of the deceased was a further corroboration of a prophecy that the boy was a witch and that he had in the past “confessed to being involved in witchcraft.”