An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday sentenced a driver, Monsuru Ayoola, to death for robbing his former boss Lanre Alabi in 2015 with a toy gun and machete.
Ayoola, a resident of No. 153, Adeniyi Adeniji Street, Lagos Island, Lagos, who was arraigned on March 14, 2016, had alleged that his former employer owed him arrears of salary.
He had pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery and inflicting injury.
In her judgment, Justice Raliat Adebiyi, found Ayoola guilty of armed robbery, and acquitted him of other charges.
Adebiyi said: “The defendant is found guilty on the count charge of armed robbery.
“The punishment for the offence is a strict and mandatory one and for this reason, the allocutus of the defence counsel cannot apply.
“The defendant is hereby sentenced to death pursuant to Section 295 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.
“May God have mercy on your soul.”
Adebiyi held that the prosecution did not prove that the convict inflicted injury on one Oluwasegun Badia, the alleged second victim of the robbery attack who was not produced in court.
He said: “On count two which is the charge of inflicting injury, the court finds that the prosecution was unable to produce in court, proof of the injury as well as the alleged victim (Badia).”
Earlier, the Prosecuting Counsel, O. R Ahmed-Muili, had said the convict committed the offence at midnight on October 11, 2014 at No. 16, Yeye Olofin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
She said: “While wearing a plastic mask to conceal his identity, and armed with a machete and toy gun, he robbed Alabi, his former employer of his black wallet containing N50,000 and his Nokia and HTC mobile phones.
“He also robbed Oluwaseun Badia of N18,000 and a Nokia mobile phone and stabbed Badia while fleeing the crime scene.
“The offences contravened sections 243 and 295 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.’
The prosecution said the convict was, however, apprehended by security guards and was unmasked during the ensuing struggle as he attempted to escape.
Three prosecution witnesses, including Alabi, the convict’s former employer testified during the trial.
Alabi admitted that the convict was employed as his driver for six years, but denied owing Ayoola any arrears of salary.
He told the court that the convict had lived with him during the course of his employment but had to relieve him of his duty due to his misconduct.
When the defence opened its case with Ayoola as the first defence witness on June 22, 2017, the convict had claimed that Alabi owed him salary of four years and four months.
He told the court that on the day of the alleged crime, he only went to confront Alabi at his home over his unpaid salary, where he attacked him with a cutlass.
According to him, he fainted during the fracas and when he was revived, he found himself at a police station.
Before the death sentence, Ayoola’s counsel, O. Oreagba-Ademola, had in her allocutus, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.
Oreagba-Ademola pleaded: “We urge Your Lordship to temper justice with mercy, he is a first time offender and has no prior criminal record.”