The name “Peter Nwachukw” has been reigning notoriously for weeks now. He was the husband of the late gospel singer, Mrs. Osinachi Nwachukwu.
Mr. Peter Nwachukwu was accused of causing the untimely death of his wife due to the constant domestic violence and physical assaults he melted on the wife at every slightest provocation.
He even carried out these acts in the presence of the children and the children who stood as witnesses narrated to the police how their dad always beat up their mother till she died. Other witnesses who were friends and neighbors of the deceased also corroborated this report that indeed the husband always beat up the wife and the wife definitely died as the result of the beating she got from the husband.
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One of the neighbors said she always hears Osinachi screaming and her husband addressing her with derogatory words all the time.
What will be the fate of Mr. Peter Nwachukiw at law if the autopsy report also corroborates this narrative that he caused the death of his wife?
If the autopsy report shows that what caused the death of Mrs. Nwachukwu was the beating she received regularly from the husband then Mr. Peter Nwachukwu will be prosecuted and held liable to have murdered the wife.
The statute highlighted some ingredients of murder or some circumstances in which murder will be said to have taken place in S.316 of The Criminal Code act:
- Definition of murder
Except as hereinafter set forth, a person who unlawfully kills another under any of the following circumstances, that is to say?
(1) if the offender intends to cause the death of the person killed, or that of some other person;
(2) if the offender intends to do to the person killed or to some other person some grievous harm;
(3) if death is caused by means of an act done in the prosecution of an unlawful purpose, which act is of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life;
(4) if the offender intends to do grievous harm to some person for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence which is such that the offender may be arrested without warrant, or for the purpose of facilitating the flight of an offender who has committed or attempted to commit any such offence;
(5) if death is caused by administering any stupefying or overpowering things for either of the purposes last aforesaid;
(6) if death is caused by wilfully stopping the breath of any person for either of such purposes, is guilty of murder
In the second case it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt the particular person who is killed.
In the third case it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to hurt any person.
In the three last cases it is immaterial that the offender did not intend to cause death or did not know that death was likely to result.
To this effect, according to the provisions of S. 316 of the criminal code, if the autopsy report shows that the cause of death of Mrs. Nwachukuw was the beating she got from the husband then Mr. Nwachukwu will be said to have murdered the wife and the punishment for this crime is a death sentence or life imprisonment. So Mr. Nwachukwu could be facing a life jail term if he escapes death sentence.