The Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction and 21 years imprisonment handed to a man, Femi Ayoade, who with two others, robbed a motorcycle 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, in the lead judgment, that the appellant failed to establish his claim that the trial 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 decision of the trial court since the appellant was given opportunity to cross-examine PW1 (the 1st prosecution witness), but failed to.
“The trial court created the atmosphere for the fair hearing of the case, but he (Ayoade) failed to take advantage of the opportunities provided to do so.
“So, he cannot accuse the trial court of denying him a fair hearing or find fault with the Court of Appeal for affirming the trial court’s decision.
“Before I round up, I must comment on the issue of his sentence, which Osayaba Giwa-Osagie, Esq., learned counsel for the appellant considered excessive.
“He (counsel) raised the issue at the hearing of the appeal, but there is no ground of appeal, challenging his (appellant’s) sentence, therefore, there is nothing this court can do or say on the issue of his sentence.
“In the final analysis, this appeal lacks merit. It, therefore fails and it is 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 High 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 motorcycle rider and his passenger of a total 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 appellate court affirmed the earlier decision of the trial court, which was further affirmed in the Supreme Court judgment delivered on January 24, 2020.