A Lagos High Court in Igbosere has jailed a cook, Janet James for 14 years for beating her eight-year-old brother, Saviour Effiong James to death for stealing meat from a pot of soup on August 10, 2009.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye convicted James, 34, following her plea of guilty to an amended one-count charge of manslaughter.
The judge said the 14-year imprisonment would take effect from August 21, 2009 when the James was remanded by a magistrates’ court.
She noted that the defendant entered a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution last Monday at the High Court, where the case was transferred to in 2013, and that she pleaded guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter.
She said: “The sentence and plea bargain agreement states as follows: Defendant has shown remorse for the offence of manslaughter committed on the 10th day of August 2009 against the person of one Saviour Effiong. The defendant pleads guilty to the offence as charged. The defendant has agreed to serve 14 years jail term from the date of remand by this honourable court. The defendant gives an undertaking to be of good behaviour, upon the completion of the jail term.
“In view of this therefore, the defendant, Janet James, is hereby found guilty of manslaughter contrary to Section 317 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003, and is accordingly convicted of same. I have taken into consideration that this is a 2013 case. I have also been guided by the plea and sentencing agreement entered into by the prosecution, the defendant Janet James and the defence counsel.
“I note also the fact that the defendant has been in remand custody for many years. As a result therefore, the defendant Janet James is hereby sentenced to a term of 14 years. The term of imprisonment is to run from the date of remand, which is August 21st 2009. This is the judgment of the court.”
The Nation reports that during the trial, prosecution counsel Mrs Abiola Gbadamosi told the court that James committed the offence at about 8pm on August 10, 2009 in the Ilupeju area of Lagos State
Gbadamosi said the convict killed Saviour James by beating him with a turning stick after accusing him of stealing meat from a pot of soup. She then dumped his body in the premises of an insurance company in Ilupeju.
In his confessional statement to the police, admitted in court following her plea, James said: “I carried him (the deceased) on my back and walked a long distance before throwing him across the fence. I decided to dump him there because the offices had long been closed.
“He used to steal. I even warned him when I went to the village to pick him. I beat him on Monday night at about 8pm after several warnings not to steal meat from the pot failed. I hit him with this little pestle (turning stick). But he did not die on the spot. At about 11pm, he woke up to urinate.
“But when I woke up at about 2am, I discovered he was foaming at the mouth. I called him but there was no response. I tried opening his mouth and even hit him yet there was no movement.
“Then I waited until about 5am before carrying him on my back and dumped him inside the premises of insurance firm and returned home.”