#Legal Sense

TRIAL BY ORDEAL (II)

By Funmilayo Olagunju

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Mr. Jealousy suspected that his wife is having an illicit affair with the next door neighbour. He violently confronted the neighbour who denied the allegation in its entirety. Dissatisfied with the neighbour’s denial, he chose to drag his wife to the Temple of Truth to subject her to the instant test of truth.

The Temple of Truth is reputed for unveiling crime through spiritual means. Persons accused of theft and infidelity are often subjected to the metaphysical trial called “Journey of truth.”

The Temple Custodian warned Mr. Jealousy and his wife that no wayward woman ever returns from the “Journey of truth” but the woman held unto her claim of innocence. Certain mixtures were boiled to the hottest degree and the woman was made to drink it once.

It turned out to be a journey of no return for the woman as she didn’t survive the ordeal. Other people awaiting “trial” in the temple raised alarm at the awful outcome. Consequently, the temple custodian and Mr. Jealousy were arrested and charged to Court by the Police for unlawful trail by ordeal among other charges.

“Any person who directs or controls or presides at any trial by ordeal which is unlawful, is guilty of a felony and is liable, when the trial which such person directs, controls or presides at results in the death of any party to the proceeding, to the punishment of death and every other case, to imprisonment for ten years.”

Section 208 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

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The liability of the one who presides over a trial by ordeal is more severe. Those who are present as onlookers, complainant or on any way connected to a trial by ordeal are equally liable;

Any person who‐

(a) is present at or takes part in any trial by ordeal which is unlawful; or

(b) makes, sells or assists or takes part in making or selling, or has in his possession for sale or use any poison or thing which is intended to be used for the purpose of any trial by ordeal which is unlawful, is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

Section 209 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act.

Criminal trial and conviction of crime is the exclusive duty of a Court of competent jurisdiction. The thirst for instant “justice” through ordeal may seems right until the long arm of the Law catches up with the participants.

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

Proverbs 14:12.

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