The Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction and 21 years imprisonment handed to a man, Femi Ayoade, who with two others, robbed a motorbike rider and a passenger of N2,000 in Lagos State, with a toy gun.
Members of five-man panel of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, were unanimous in holding that the appeal by Ayoade, marked: SC/456/2018, was without merit and dismissed it.
Justice Amina Augie held, within the lead judgment, that the appellant did not establish his claim that the court denied him fair hearing.
Justice Augie said: “Speculation aside, I hold the strong view that the Court of Appeal was absolutely right to affirm the choice of the court since the appellant was given opportunity to cross-examine PW1 (the 1st prosecution witness), but did not .
“The court created the atmosphere for the fair hearing of the case, but he (Ayoade) did not make the most of the opportunities provided to do so.
“So, he cannot accuse the court of denying him a good hearing or find fault with the Court of Appeal for affirming the trial court’s decision.
“Before I gather , i need to discuss the difficulty of his sentence, which Osayaba Giwa-Osagie, Esq., learned counsel for the appellant considered excessive.
“He (counsel) raised the difficulty at the hearing of the appeal, but there’s no ground of appeal, challenging his (appellant’s) sentence, therefore, there’s nothing this court can do or say on the difficulty of his sentence.
“In the ultimate analysis, this appeal lacks merit. It, therefore fails and it’s dismissed. The judgment of the court of appeal is affirmed,” Justice Augie said.
Other members of the panel were Justices Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Paul Galumje and Uwani Abba Aji.
Ayoade and two others were tried before a Lagos State supreme court on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery.
They were said to have used a toy gun to attack and rob a motorbike rider and his passenger of a total amount of N2,000 (N500 from the motorcycle rider and N1,5000 from the passenger).
In a judgment on April 1, 2014, Justice I. O. Kasali found Ayoade guilty as charged, convicted him and sentenced him to 21 years imprisonment.
Ayoade appealed to the Court of Appeal. And, in its judgment on march 2, 2018, the appeals court affirmed the sooner decision of the trial court, which was further affirmed in the Supreme Court judgment delivered on January 24, 2020.