The Appeal Court sitting in Benin, the Edo State capital, yesterday ordered that two brothers convicted for the murder of an eight-year child are to face fresh trial for the same offense. Already, the two siblings had spent 23 years in jail in the state. The accused are: Onome Inaye, aged 63 and Victor Emenuwe, aged 49.

The appellate court in its ruling held that the two brothers were not properly arraigned and their plea taken. The brothers were said to have committed the offence in 1995 when they drowned their victim in a stream after a failed ritual attempt. Onome and Victor were said to have taken their victim to Ijebu- Ode for the purpose of money ritual but could not raise the N20, 000 demanded by the herbalist.

They were reported to have thrown the child in a stream to drown so as to cover their evil act. They were later arrested by the police on suspicion that they travelled on the day the child went missing. It was during police investigation that they confessed and took the police to the stream where the body of the child was recovered.

They were found guilty of conspiracy and murder by an Edo State High Court and subsequently sentenced to death in 2014. But in his judgement on the appeal filed by their counsel, President Aigbokhan, Justice S. Oseji, declared the whole trial of the lower court a nullity for not complying with provisions of the law. According to the appeal, the convicts sought the court’s determination whether they were rightly arraigned. Justice Oseji stated that there was nowhere in the ruling of the lower court which showed that the convicts were first arraigned and their plea taken.

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