Yaw Azumah and Wame Kehodo V. The King (1950)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
What is an accomplice—Mere fact of standing by when crime committed is not sufficient—Summing-up of defence—Duty of Judge considered—Principles on which Court will interfere with Jury’s verdict explained.
The appellants appealed against their convictions for murder. The main ground of appeal was that the Court had misdirected the jury in not holding that the principal witness for the Crown was an accomplice, because he was present when crime was committed, did not* run away, and failed to report to the police.
It was also argued that the Judge in his summing-up of the defence failed to direct the jury in detail as to the defences of the appellants whose Counsel relied on the case of Rex v. Kamara (2). The Court also considered the principles upon which the verdict of a jury could be reversed.
The evidence only established that the alleged accomplice was merely present when crime committed, was not a confederate, and had not participated in the crime, and was not, therefore, an accomplice.
The case of Rex v. Kamara & Others (2) lays down as a general rule, that the Judge must direct the jury in detail as to the defence. The principle is simply that the defence must be adequately placed before the jury and Court will not interfere merely because particular points have not received the emphasis or attention the defence would like.
The Court will not reverse verdicts of juries where there is evidence on which a jury can act and there has been a proper direction. The Court cannot sub stitute itself for a jury and re-try the case.