by Robert AKPAN, Senior Investigator Reporter, Lagos.
SOMETIME in August, 2015, a 23-year-old woman named Blessing Edet, was arrested for allegedly stabbing her 33 year old fiancé Edet Ebong to death over mild argument bothering on the engagement ring the latter gave to the former. Reports say Blessing’s journey to prison started that ill-fated night when Ebong returned from his place of work and demanded that she cooked his dinner for him. According to report, Blessing had told her man that she was tired and therefore, could not enter the kitchen for the purpose adding that when Edet eventually entered the kitchen to prepare his food, he discovered to his chagrin that Blessing had pulled off the engagement ring and dropped it on a table. Infuriated by that which ina way confirmed that Blessing had become unfaithful to him, Edet was said to have dashed into the bedroom where blessing was lying down and accused her of infidelity following which a fight ensued. CrmieWorld reported that Blessing in self-defense ran into the kitchen, grabbed the kitchen-knife and thrust it into Ebing’s lower abdomen. He died before he could get medical attention. Two weeks later Blessing was arraigned for murder and had been standing trials ever. But delivering the lead judgment on Wednesday October 9, 2019 Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo who commuted the murder charge to involuntary manslaughter however, sentenced her to 10 years in prison for stabbing Edet Ebong, her fiancé to death stressing that she did not mean to kill him. “By stabbing the deceased in the lower part of his abdomen, she did not intend to cause grievous harm to the defendant. The defendant has established factors necessary to prove self defence. I find that the defendant acted in self defence as she was a victim of unprovoked assault. The defendant is not guilty of murder, but I find her guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Edet Ebong.
Continuing, the learned Judge said, “Section 227 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State prescribes life imprisonment for the offence of involuntary manslaughter. This is a clear case of recklessness on the part of both the deceased and the defendant. I hereby sentence the defendant to ten-year imprisonment with no option of fine. The sentence will take effect from the month of August 2015 which is when she has been on custody.”
Earlier, the prosecution, led by Mr. F. Oyedale had alleged that Blessing Edet committed the offence at 12.15 am on August 18, 2015 at her residence on 1, Falana Street, Ogombo, Lekki Lagos while her trials commenced at the Lagos High court on July 5, 2017 with five witnesses including Esther Ebong, sister to the deceased, a medical doctor and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) testifying for the prosecution.
Meanwhile, Blessing Edet testified solely in her defence all through the trial. According to her, “My late fiancé came to my apartment at midnight and woke me up that I should cook a meal for him, but I told him I was tired and therefore, could not do that. Upon hearing that I was tired, he went into the kitchen maybe, to prepare the food for himself and saw the engagement ring he had given me beside the stove. He became angry and asked why I was not wearing the ring. Before I could explain that I was wearing it but pulled it when I was in the kitchen, he started beating me and went further to broke a mirror and used part of it to stab me, I was bleeding and I was crying out to the neighbors for help. In the process, I ran into the kitchen and took my kitchen knife and threatened to stab him but while we were contesting it, it went into his lower abdomen and he slumped. I cried out for held and neigbours came and helped me to rush him to the hospital where he later died.
Earlier before her conviction, Blessing’s Defence Counsel, Ms Favour Eboh-Mgbehoma, had pleaded for mercy arguing that Blessing was a first offender who had no criminal record. ‘My Lord, we appeal to your lordship to temper justice with mercy as the accused is a first offender who could have been the victim in the circumstance. The accused person is a young woman who has her whole life ahead of her. She has been in custody since 2015 when she was 23-years-old and now 27. My Lord, she had learnt all the bitter lessons of life.”
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