On our previous post, we highlighted that for their to be a conviction for murder or for an accused person to be convicted for the crime of murder, the prosecution must established three conditions beyond every reasonable doubt or the prima facie case of murder must be established against the accused by satisfying these three conditions beyond all reasonable doubt. This was the conditions that was unable to be prima facie established against those accused of killing the young lad, Sylvester Oromoni Jr, hence the reason why they were exonerated.
We would go deep into those conditions today; ie the three essential ingredients of murder which a prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt in order to secure conviction against the accused; they are as follows: Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the victim died. This condition is usually not in dispute as medical reports are presented to show that the victim of the crime died hence the reason for the trial. If death is yet to happen to the victim then there won’t be any case.
Secondly, the prosecution must prove that the death of the victim resulted from the action or inaction of the accused. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond every atom of doubt that the victim in question died as a result of what the accused did or what the accused failed to do.
Finally, the prosecution must also prove beyond every reasonable doubt that the said action or inaction of the accused was intentional and with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable or foreseeable consequence. This simply means that it must be proved that although the deceased died as a result of what the accused did, the action of the accused was intentional, with the intent of killing the victim or causing grievous bodily harm to the victim.
Intents or intentions (which is called mensrea in legal parlance) is very crucial in criminal trials. It is what determines wether the accused be convicted for murder or for manslaughter. When the prosecution fails to prove that the action of the accused person is intentional to cause the death of the victim the accused will be convicted for manslaughter instead of murder.
It should be known that in criminal trials, the standard of prove is “beyond reasonable doubt”, this simply means that the prosecution must prove that the accused committed the crime beyond every atom of doubt that the blind will see and the deaf will hear that the accused person truly committed that crime (visible to the blind and audible to the deaf) and it is usually the person who alleges that another person commits a crime that has the onus to prove that the accused person really committed the crime in question.
These three ingredients of murder work hand in hand and the prosecution must be able to prove all those conditions beyond every atom of doubt before the judge/jury can convict the alleged criminal. The three conditions must be proved and it’s always the second and the third ingredients that’s always in contest; linking the accused person to the death of the victim or proving beyond all reasonable doubt that it was the act of the accused that caused the death of the deceased and that the accused had the intent to kill the victim.