Aksor Kassardjian V. The Queen (1955)
Criminal Law—Accomplice—An accomplice not so treated at trial—Absence of corroboration.
Appeals in Criminal Cases—Cap. 5, section 10, proviso to sub-section (1)—Not applied.
The appellant, a building contractor and transport owner, was convicted of endeavouring to influence B, a public officer, in the duties of his office by a gift of money, this public officer being the Minister of Communications and Works.
The case for the Crown was that B had accepted the gifts believing that no quid pro quo was expected but later the appellant made it clear that he expected contracts. The defence was that the appellant gave the money to help B in his political career, as being a good representative of the area in which the appellant worked and made his money, and without any corrupt motive.
The trial Judge rejected the defence but held that B was not an accomplice and his evidence needed no corroboration. Leave to appeal was granted on this point.
For the Crown it was argued (1) that if B was held to have been an accomplice, there was corroboration in the appellant’s false denial to the police that he had ever paid any money to B, but B was not an accomplice; and (2) that the trial Judge would have convicted the appellant even if he had held B to have been an accomplice, and this was a case for acting under the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 10 of Cap. 5. (The said proviso enables the Court of Appeal to an appeal if of opinion that there had been no miscarriage of justice.)
The circumstances attending the gifts of money are examined in the judgment infra. Apart from that lie there w’as nothing to afford corroboration of B’s evidence.
(1) The circumstances of the case made it imperative to hold that the public officer concerned was an accomplice.
(2) The lie told by the appellant could not be said to be such, and to have been told in such circumstances, as to afford corroboration of that officer’s evidence.
(3) The Court of Appeal could not speculate as to the conclusion the trial Judge would have reached had he found that that officer was an accomplice, and this was not a proper case for applying the proviso to section 10 (1) of Cap. 5.
Appeal allowed; verdict of acquittal entered.