An Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Tuesday sentenced a Béninoise cook, Sunday Anani, to life imprisonment for the murder of his employer, the Chief Executive Officer of Credit Switch Ltd., Opeyemi Bademosi.
Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile convicted Anani following his plea of guilty to a one-count charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Anani, 22, was initially charged by the Lagos State Government on two counts of murder and armed robbery.
He pleaded not guilty but when trial began, Anani entered a plea bargain agreement for a lesser charge.
He then pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter with the help of his counsel, Mrs Aderenra Adeyemi, the Director of the Office Defender
He, therefore, confessed that he stabbed Chief Bademosi to death in his Ikoyi, Lagos, home, while trying to rob him.
He also confirmed that he was the person caught on closed-circuit television camera fleeing the scene of the crime.
The defendant’s initial plea of not guilty would have fetched him a death sentence by hanging, if found guilty.
Before sentencing the defendant, the court asked his counsel, if he had an allocutus – plea for leniency.
Adeyemi said: “The defendant is a young man and he is remorseful about what he has done. He is a first-time offender; there is no evidence that he committed any crime before this.
“Our humble application is to urge your lordship to grant a sentence of years certain.
“However, if my lordship is mindful of upholding what we have agreed in the plea bargain, we will accept the sentence therein.”
The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, opposed the prayer.
Shitta-Bey said: “We urge this court to grant the maximum sentence for the offence of voluntary manslaughter as charged.”
She said that there were some “special aggravating circumstances” surrounding the case, such as breach of trust.
“The defendant was employed into the home of his boss, entrusted with a high level of responsibilities as a cook.
“Barely three days after resumption of duty, the defendant cut short the life of a man that gave him a new lease of life, depriving him the privilege of enjoying life with his wife and children.
“Judicial notice must be taken of the fact that this act of violence by domestic employees against their employers is becoming rampant.
“The sentence must reflect that this conduct is unacceptable to our society; we must send the message to others of like minds.”
After, the submissions, Okikiolu-Ighile passed judgement on Anani.
The judge said: “it is annoying that a young man like this will involve himself in this kind of crime. What did he hope to achieve in life involving himself in this kind of crime, I ask?
“It is very painful that a young man, who the family of Bademosi welcomed in their home as a cook, ended up causing so much havoc and endless pain.
“It is even more painful that the defendant had no motive of working but came into the house with a criminal intention to steal, kill and to destroy.
“The defendant admitted, ‘I killed him.’ This was an innocent and unsuspecting family”.
Upholding the plea bargain and sentence agreement, the judge held: “Sunday Adefonou Anani is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment.
“The term of imprisonment shall commence from today, June 25, 2019.”
The prosecution had said that the defendant committed the murder on Oct. 31, 2018, at Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.
It said that the defendant stabbed the deceased, aged 67, to death with a knife, and stole his valuables, in contravention of Sections 223 and 297 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
The prosecution called two witnesses, including the deceased’s wife Ebunola Bademosi, who testified as to how she found her husband in a pool of blood.
While trial was going on, the defendant through a letter dated May, 20, written through his counsel, expressed his willingness to voluntarily plead guilty to a lesser offence, which was thereafter accepted.