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10 Years After, Lagos High Court Jails Woman Who ‘Killed’ Her Brother For Stealing Meat

10 Years After, Lagos High Court Jails Woman Who ‘Killed’ Her Brother For Stealing Meat

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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