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Commissioner Of Police V. Armah Quarshie & Ors (1939) LJR-WACA

Commissioner Of Police V. Armah Quarshie & Ors (1939)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Admission, made when accused believed he was under arrest and no caution had been given—Effect of such admission on second admission made after caution administered—Effect of taking accused to place where stolen property in his absence had been found.

Held : Appeal dismissed and conviction affirmed. Cases cited :—

Rex v. Ajege and Kigbo (2 W.A.C.A. p. 352).

Rex v. Kojo Rodom and Ors. (2 W.A.C.A. p. 390). Rex v, Aliinpau and Ors. (3 VV.A.C.A. p. 4).

There is no need to set out the facts.

A. G. Heward-Mills for Appellant.

No appearance for Respondent.

The following joint judgment was delivered :— STROTHER-STEWART, ACTING C.J., GOLD COAST, BANNERMAN AND M’CARTHY, JJ.

This is an ‘appeal from a conviction of stealing by the District Magistrate, Accra, on the 3rd June, 1939, which was confirmed on appeal by the Divisional Court, Eastern Province.

The first question for consideration is in connection with an alleged admission of guilt by the appellant to Corporal Evortepe. It may be said at once that the Court is satisfied that the admission was made.

But there is the further question whether in the circumstances the statement was admissible in evidence against him, as there is reason to suppose that the appellant at any rate believed that he was being charged with stealing, and also that he was under arrest when he made his admission, whether this was the corporal’s intention or not. As no caution was administered by the corporal, this Court holds that the admission should not have been received in evidence.

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The next point arises as to a statement in writing (Exhibit ” D “) taken by the police at the Charge and Enquiry Office, to which the appellant was conveyed by the corporal after his first

abovementioned statement. On the evidence the District Magistrate was justified in taking the view (which we assume he did) that the usual caution was duly given, and that no threat or promise or inducement was held out to the appellant in order to procure a statement. It is however necessary to consider whether the first admission made to the corporal without caution may so have operated on the appellant’s mind as to deprive the second statement of the character of voluntariness.

It is clear that no threat or promise was made in order to induce the appellant to make the first statement. Doubtless the appellant was alive to the seriousness of this admission when afforded an opportunity of making a further statement. But there was no obligation on his part to make any further statement, nor had he any ground for supposing that it would be to his benefit to do so. What he actually did was to make a detailed statement which would appear to have proceeded from a desire to make a full confession of his part in the crime, and from an equal desire to implicate one Brown alias Braimah Hansa, the second accused in the case. Upon the arrest of the latter he identified him to the police. Later he volunteered information which led to the arrest and prosecution of one Kofi I.amptey, the 3rd accused in the case.

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There is therefore no ground for holdine, that the statement Exhibit ” D ” was not properly received in evidence against him.

Objection has again been raised to the taking of the appellant by the police to the beach at Labadi where some of the stolen property had previously been found in his absence. According to the evidence for the prosecution the appellant offered to go, and certainly this would be in keeping with the attitude that he now appeared to be adopting. But in any event this incident did not carry the case against him any further.

Finally it should be stated that the story told by the appellant in Exhibit ” D ” was corroborated by a visit made by him by motor car to the Labadi beach on the morning after the theft before he came in contact with the police. The appellant’s attempt to explain this visit when in the witness-box was obviously unconvincing. On this evidence the District Magistrate could only come to one conclusion so far as the appellant was concerned.

This case can easily be distinguished from those cited by counsel for the appellant, viz., Rex v. Ajege and Kigbo (W.A.C.A. Vol. 2 p.353), Rex v. Kojo Bodoni and Ors. (W.A.C.A. Vol. 2 p.390) and Rex v. Akinpelu Ajani and Ors. (W.A.C.A. Vol. 3 p.4).

The conviction- will therefore be confirmed and the appeal dismissed.

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