Cases

Elements that must be Present for the Defence of Accident to Succeed

Elements that must be present for the Defence of Accident to Succeed

In AMAO vs. THE STATE(2018)LPELR-441­67(CA), the Court of Appeal held thus:
“The Appellant put up an unconvincing defence of accident, provocation and self defence. The Appellant never gave details of these defences to avail him of the guilt. Accident, in law, is defined as an event that just happened unexpectedly without planning or anticipation usually with unpleasant consequences, such as an injury caused or loss to another. See OGBOKA V. THE STATE (2016) LPELR 41777; UMAR V. THE STATE (2014) LPELR

  1. In OKPA V. STATE, Karibi-Whyte, JSC (Retired) held as
    follows:-
    “An accident is defined by this Court as the result of an unwilling
    act, and means an event without the fault of the person alleged to
    have caused it.”
    See ALIU BELLO V. A.G. OYO STATE (1986) 12 SC PG. 1. Oputa, JSC
    (of blessed memory) took it a step further in BAYO ADELUMOLA V.
    THE STATE (1988) 1 NWLR (PT. 73) PG. 639.
    I want to believe that the Appellant has to accept that he actually
    did the act complained of before any of these defences can avail
    him.
    “An accused person seeking to rely on defence of accident must
    explain how the accident occurred and be subjected to cross-
    examination. Where he fails to testify the law would presume that
    the defence is not given in evidence. Consequently, the defence of
    accident is bound to be rejected. R. V. AKERELE (1941) 7 WACA;
    ADEKUNLE V. STATE (2006) 14 NWLR (PT. 1000) 17.
    The defence of accident presupposes that the accused personally
    committed the offence but should be acquitted because it was an
    accidental act. OKEKE V. STATE (1999) 2 NWLR (PT. 590) 246.”

  2. For the defence of accident to avail the Appellant, he must show (a) that the act was done by accident, (b) that there was no criminal intention or knowledge and (c) that the act was done in the course of doing a lawful act in lawful manner by a lawful means and with proper care and caution. ACHIKU V. STATE (2015) 6 NWLR (PT.1456) PG. 425. The defence of accident does not avail an act done unlawfully, willfully, recklessly or rashly. See AGBO V. STATE (2006 NWLR (PT. 977) PG. 545 per Aboki, JCA; OLUDAMILOLA V. STATE (2010) LPELR 2611; MAIYAKI V. STATE (2008) LPELR 1823;ADEGBOYE V. STATE (2017) LPELR 42099.” Per NDUKWE-ANYANWU, JCA. (Pp. 15-17, Paras. F-E).

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