It is apposite to state that in a third world economy like Nigeria, buying of fairly used phones or items cannot be completely ruled out as the cost of buying new phones or items are expensive and cannot be afforded by many individuals. The Decision of the Supreme Court in Haruna v. State (Supra) has been largely misconstrued as it never pronounced a death sentence on an accused person who purchased fairly used phone, rather the death sentence was pronounced for the offence of Armed Robbery pursuant to Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Fire Arms Act. In Haruna v. state, the appellant was charged at the High Court for conspiracy to commit a felony to wit: Conspiracy to Kidnap, Kidnapping, and Armed Robbery. The victim in the said case was kidnapped and dispossessed of her mobile phone (blackberry) which was later found on the appellant. The Supreme Court in its decision relied on Section 167(a) of the Evidence Act 2011, which Provides thus: “(a) A man who is in possession of stolen goods soon after the theft is either the thief or has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession;” Nowhere in the Judgment was it stated that the penalty for the purchase of a fairly used phone is a death Sentence. The court only placed reliance on the presumption that whoever is in possession of stolen goods or proceeds of a crime immediately after they are stolen or the act was done is either the thief or participated in the crime, unless he can account for his possession. Selling and purchasing of fairly used phones or items is a healthy commercial practice sanctioned by Section 22 of the Sale of Goods Act 1893, which provides thus:
- – (1) Where goods are sold in a market overt, according to the usage of the market, the buyer acquires a good title to the goods, provided he buys them in good faith and without notice of any defect or want of title on the part of the seller.
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