Commissioner of Police V. S. K. Kemavor & Ors (1941)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Stealing—One of accused pleaded guilty—Called as witnesses for the Crown—Plea changed to Not Guilty—No objection to admission of his evidence by defence—Meaning of Abandonment.
[Five accused charged Lpiore Magistrate’s Court with stealing of whom the fifth accused pleaded guilty. The plea of guilty stood but he had not been sentenced before being called as a witness. This plea was, after hearing his evidence, changed to ” Not Guilty.” The appellant was convicted and appealed to the Supreme Court who dismissed the appeal. Appellant stated that as the goods alleged to have been stolen were incapable of being stolen as they had been abandoned. The question was whether the evidence showed the goods had been abandoned in the natural meaning of the word or in its artificial and technical sense. Supreme Court held it had been used in its technical sense and thus there was no abandonment. Appellant further stated that the fifth accused was not a competent witness. Supreme Court held that as District Magistrate was asked to strike out evidence of fifth accused it was too late to raise the question of incompetency for first time on appeal.]
(i) A person pleading guilty and who is to be called as Crown Witness should be first sentenced.
- View of Supreme Court’s meaning of use of word ” Abandonment ” was the correct one and
- The Supreme Court was wrong in holding that the question of incompetency, which was statutory, of the witness could not be raised for first time in appeal.
Appeal allowed conviction and sentence quashed and verdict of acquittal entered.