Reporting the Reporters

‘The Write Partner’ assesses, criticizes, or praises the language of selected passages from Nigeria’s leading law reports.

Aikhadueki [2014] 15 NWLR (Part 1431) 530- Supreme Court of Nigeria

Under Facts, the law reporter begins as follows:

The appellant was arraigned with other accused persons at the High Court of Imo State, Orlu and charged with the murder of one Christian Owerreoma on the 15th day of August 2002 along Orlu Road Junction by Mgbidi, Orlu Judicial Division contrary to section 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 30, Vol. 11, Laws of Eastern Nigeria 1963 as applicable to Imo State.

This passage is faulty in several respects:

1. It should have started: Police Corporal Bonny Aikhadueki . . . . This would humanize the appellant. Facts sections (whether in briefs, law reports, or judgments) should read like stories. Using parties’ names enhances the story element.

2. Why couple arraigned and charged. The report should have started: Police Corporal Bonny Aikhadueki was charged, along with others, with murdering Christian Owerreoma.

3. There is no need to precede the victim’s name with one.

4. The court and date are unnecessary. They appear in other, more formulaic parts of the report.

5. The venue of the crime is unnecessary, being irrelevant to the finding.

6. The judicial division is unnecessary, as territorial jurisdiction was never an issue.

7. The statutory citation should not include chapter and volume of the Laws of Eastern Nigeria.

8. The passage should have read:

Police Corporal Bonny Aikhadueki was charged, along with others, with murdering Christian Owerreoma. The charge was brought under section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Law as applied in Imo State.