A Lagos High Court sitting in the Igbosere area has sentenced a cook identified as Janet James, to 14 years imprisonment.
Janet, 34, was sentenced for beating her eight-year-old brother, Saviour James, to death for stealing meat from a pot of soup on August 10, 2009. Justice Adedayo Akintoye convicted her on Monday following her plea of guilty to an amended one-count of manslaughter.
The judge said the 14-year imprisonment would take effect from August 21, 2009, when Janet was remanded by a magistrates’ court. Justice Akintoye noted that the defendant entered a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution on Monday last week at the High Court.
The sentence and plea bargain agreement stated, “The 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.”
Janet was re-arraigned before the judge in 2013 on one charge of murder contrary to Section 317 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State, 2003. She had pleaded not guilty to the charge. The prosecution counsel, Abiola Gbadamosi, had told the court that the defendant 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 on the premises of an insurance company in the area. In her confessional statement to the police, Janet 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 but he did not die on the spot.”
She added, “At about 11pm, he woke up to urinate but when I woke up at about 2am, I discovered he was foaming in 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 the insurance firm and returned home.”
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