Akpan Michael Vs The Queen (1961) LLJR-SC

Akpan Michael Vs The Queen (1961)

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On the 1st June 1960, the appellant was convicted of burglary and stealing contrary to ss. 411 (1) and 390 (4) (b) of the criminal code respectively at the sessions of the High Court of Lagos by Coker, J.

At the hearing of this appeal, the appellant, who argued his appeal himself, urged that at the time of the alleged offence he was far away from the scene of the crime, being at Calabar in the Eastern Region. Further that none of the alleged stolen property was found in his possession and finally that the 2nd prosecution witness, Inspector Fayemi, who conducted the investigations, had a grudge against the appellant and trumped up this case against him.

These arguments had also been advanced by the appellant at his trial to no avail. The trial Judge found him guilty because the evidence showed that the accepted finger-prints of the appellant were similar to the finger-prints discovered on the louvre exhibit “A” which was one of the louvres removed by the Police from the house of the 1st prosecution witness which has been broken into. The method by which entry had been gained into the premises was in fact through the window by removing some 8 or 10 of these louvres from their fastenings.

We are of the view that there is no substance in this appeal and that the conviction based solely as it was on the similarity of the forger-prints under the circumstances of this appeal is sound. The Learned Author of Wills on Circumstantial Evidence the 6th Edition refers to an unreported case tried in 1908 at Birmingham in these words at page 203:

A burglary had been committed and the offender had left the imprint of one or more of his forgers on a champagne bottle. Twelve identical ridge characteristics were pointed out in the two sets of impressions, but the Learned Judge was so far from being satisfied that he twice invited the jury to say that they were not satisfied. The jury, however, did not accept the invitation and convicted the prisoner.

This appeal against conviction will therefore be dismissed. Strictly speaking there is no appeal against sentence, but the appellant has attacked the sentence as being excessive in his last ground of appeal against his conviction. We see no reason to alter the sentence passed on the appellant.

Other Citation: (1961) LCN/0943(SC)

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