Saturday, October 6, 2018
Bayelsa High Court Sentences Police Corporal To Death For Killing Teenager
17-year-old Innocent, first out of five children of Mr. Daniel Kokorifa, an official of the Federal Road Safety Corps, was shot dead by the convict along Air Force Road in Yenagoa, on August 18, 2016.
Innocent was reportedly running an errand for his mother, Pere Kokorifa, when he was killed by the police corporal who was among a police patrol team on the fateful day.
Justice Ineikade Eradiri held that contrary to the position of the police, he was convinced that Innocent Kokorifa who was shot dead by a member of a police patrol team in Okaka area, was not armed at the time he was gruesomely murdered.
The judge also said that there was no evidence that the gun allegedly recovered by the police after Kokorifa’s killing and a substance suspected to be marijuana the police said were found in his pocket, belonged to the deceased.
Police authorities in the state had maintained that the young boy belonged to a gang of armed robbers, arguing that his group exchanged gunfire with the operatives before he was hit by a shot fired by the convict.
The victim, who was confirmed dead at the Federal Medical Centre in Yenagoa, the police had said, fired at the security agents deployed to apprehend them, before leaving behind one locally made single-barrelled pistol, one live cartridge, one expended cartridge and wraps of substances suspected to be marijuana.
The young Kokorifa’s killing had sparked outrage, leading to protests by youths and civil society groups led by Morris Alagoa, Nengi James and Aluzu Augustine.
But in his judgment on Friday, Justice Eradiri averred that the prosecution had proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts, maintaining that the defence of the police was conflicting.
The judge said, “I hold that the prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts and that on the contrary, there was serious doubt in the claim by the accused that he acted in self-defence.
“I disbelieve and reject the defence of the accused for being contradictory and unsatisfactory. I find the accused guilty as charged and is hereby convicted for the murder of Innocent Kokorifa.
“The punishment prescribed for murder is death. Accordingly, the sentence of this court is that you be hanged by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your soul.”