THE STATE (COMPLAINANT)
MATI AUDU (ACCUSED)
(1971) All N.L.R. 511
Division: High Court, Kano
Date of Judgment: 10th August, 1971
Case Number: SUIT NO. K/11C/1971.
Before: Wheeler, J.
As no assurance was given to the accused at the police station that he need fear no violence if he chose not to say anything and as the constable had nullified the effect of the caution by asking the accused to tell him what happened, the statement was not voluntary and therefore not admissible.
Cases referred to:
Alhaji Isiyaku Mohamed v. Kano N.A., S.C. 417/1967 (unreported) of 31st December, 1968.
SUIT NO. K/11C/1971.
Minjibir, State Counsel, for the complainant.
Accused in person.
Wheeler, J.:-The question I have to decide at this stage is whether the statement, said to be confessional in nature, made by the accused at the police station under caution is admissible in evidence. To be admitted the prosecution must have satisfied me that the statement was made voluntarily.
The evidence clearly shows, and I so find, that immediately before being taken to the police station in an army lorry with an army escort, the accused had been severely beaten up by soldiers at an army barracks because as the 4th prosecution witness put it "he had refused to tell the truth about what had happened between himself and the boy." The evidence also shows that the accused was still bleeding from his injuries while he was actually making his statement and that as soon as he had finished making it, he was taken to hospital and treated. Although it appears that no soldiers were present while the accused was making his statement, I observe that the constable who cautioned the accused and recorded his statement has testified that after cautioning him, he asked the accused to tell him all that had happened.
In these circumstances I have no hesitation in concluding that the prosecution have failed to prove that the accused's statement was made voluntarily. A not dissimilar situation fell to be considered by the Supreme Court on appeal in Alhaji Isiyaku Mohamed v. Kano N.A. (unreported; S.C. 417/1967; judgment delivered 31st December, 1968) where the court observed that-
"It cannot be said that justice was done to an accused person whose statement was admitted in evidence and relied on by the Urban Area Court, when that statement was made after he had been taken to an army barracks from the police charge office and there beaten up by soldiers."
In the present case it is not surprising the accused chose to make a statement at the police station after what had happened to him at the army barracks for refusing to speak. In my view what happened at the barracks and what followed at the police station must be regarded as one continuous transaction and not as separate and distinct incidents. Not only did each incident immediately follow the other, but nothing was done at the police station by way of assuring the accused that he need no longer fear physical violence if he chose not to say anything. Moreover by asking the accused to tell him all that had happened immediately after cautioning him, the constable wholly dissipated the effect of the words of caution.
Accordingly I rule that the statement in question is inadmissible in evidence.