Court frees Rivers minor charged for manslaughter

A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a 15-year-old boy, Emmanuel Chibuike, of a manslaughter suit filed against him.

The defendant was standing trial on one count of manslaughter under section 236 of the criminal code of Nigeria for allegedly killing a 21-year-old man, Ahmed Buhari, in November 2020.

Chibuike had stabbed Buhari in self-defense during an attack on him by the latter and his friends in the Mile three axis of Port Harcourt.

In her judgement on Wednesday, Presiding Judge, Justice Else Thompson, discharged and acquitted Emmanuel on the grounds that the prosecution counsel did not have enough evidence to prove to the court that it was a case of manslaughter and not self-defense as established by the defense counsel.

Justice Thompson said it was not in doubt that the deceased died, but that the act was not intentional as the defendant acted in self-defense from the deceased who bullied him.

Speaking with newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the defendant, Boma John-Williams, expressed satisfaction with the judgement, saying the law has vindicated her client.

“What the defendant did was self-defense which is acceptable by law. Ordinarily as a minor, the law will not condemn him to death.

“If he was found guilty, as a minor he will be kept at the pleasure of the Governor we don’t know when he will be released.

“But in the Child Rights Act, he will be kept in a place where he will learn a trade or he can be sent back to school.

“But in Rivers State for now, I don’t know if we have such a place to keep him. But from what has happened today, I can’t describe the joy in me. I am very happy. The law has vindicated us,” she said.

She, however, advised children to desist from using arms on their fellow child because all cases might not be accepted as ‘self-defense’.

On his part, the Prosecution Counsel Kingsley Briggs, said they would liaise with the deceased family to know the next line of action.

“We will liaise with the family,” Briggs stated in a terse response.

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