Justice Raliatu Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday convicted and sentenced a man, Katungi Phillips, to death for stabbing his wife Justina James, to death for allegedly infecting him with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Justice Adebiyi handed down the verdict after she found Phillips guilty of a charge of murder brought against him by the state government.
The prosecution team led by Mrs. O. R Ahmed-Muili, had told the court that the convict committed the offence at 3.21am on July 26, 2014 at his residence at Pako House, Oniru, Lagos.
Ahmed-Muili had also informed the trial judge that the convict who had been married to Justina for two-years stabbed her all over her body with a kitchen knife after discovering that she had infected him with HIV.
The lawyer stated, “After discovering that she had infected him with the virus, the deceased allegedly wanted to leave him for another man.
“He stabbed his wife a kitchen knife during the ensuing argument and he also attempted to kill himself by stabbing himself in the abdomen with the knife,” she said.
Phillips was arraigned in court on Feb. 8, 2016 and during the course of trial, the state called four witnesses: three police officers and the sister of the deceased wife testified at the trial on behalf of the prosecution.
In his testimony, Insp Alexander Onoja, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) claimed that the defendant confessed to the police to have stabbed his wife.
Onoja said, “He confessed that he murdered his wife because he discovered they were both HIV positive and he was infected through her.
“He alleged that she informed him that she was leaving him for another man,” he stated.
The IPO further testified that when the police visited the crime scene Justina was already deceased and her body was in a pool of blood while Phillips was lying beside her corpse with a knife wound to his abdomen and “his intestines hanging out”.
Philips, while testifying in his own defence, used the defence of provocation, claiming that his wife was stabbed while they were arguing over his missing mobile phone.
The convict said, “We were arguing over my missing phone, she stabbed me with the kitchen knife, I grabbed the knife from her hands and stabbed her once.”
Justice Adebiyi in her judgment held, “The prosecution were able to prove by cogent circumstantial evidence that the defendant intended to kill the deceased.
“I hereby find the defendant guilty of the murder of Justina James.
“In view of the mandatory sentence for murder in Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
“The defendant Katungi Phillips is hereby sentenced to death, may the Lord has mercy on his soul,” Adebiyi said.
The judge rejected Phillips defence of provocation, maintaining that the multiple stab wounds inflicted on Justina by Phillips were excessive in comparison to the single stab wound the convict sustained.
Justice Adebiyi said that based on the evidence before her, the defence of provocation was not plausible and that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.