Comptroller of Customs V. Michael N.l Effiom (1941)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Four questions.—(i) Application to amend charges which amounted to Case stated application to substitute another charge after trial by High commenced refused. Held: Correctly. Court.
- Application to amend particulars of charge refused —Particulars given were those of another offence. Held: Correctly.
- Was refusal to convict of offence proved but not charged correct P Held: Correct.
- Application of Reg. 6 I’ the Customs Ordinance Cap. 130—Distinction between ” inland ” mud ” territorial ” waters.
C. W. Reece for Comptroller of Customs. E. E. E. Astwan for Effiom.
The following joint opinion was delivered :—
KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, PETRIDES, C.J., GOLD coAsr, GRAHAM PAUL, C.J., SIERRA LEONE.
This Court has been asked four questions by Jeffreys, Acting Assistant Judge of the High Court. The first is :—
” Was I right after the trial had commenced when I ” declined the application of the Collector of Customs to amend ” the charges? ‘
The answer we give is ” Yes,” since the application made was not really an application to amend the existing charge but rather to substitute another charge for the existing charge. There was no power to do this.
The second question is :—
” Was I wrong after the trial had commenced in declining ” the request of the Collector of Customs to amend the ” particulars of the second charge? “
The answer we give is ” No ” for the reason that the second charge and particulars as framed were bad and should have been struck out, not amended. They were bad because the charge was being in possession of prohibited import, and the particulars given were particulars of smuggling.
The answer we give is ” Yes “, a conviction would only have
andbeen possible if the offence proved was part of the offence charged.
C.D.It was not.
The fourth question is :—
” Was my interpretation of Regulation 6 of the Customs ” Ordinance Chapter 130 correct, thereby making the seizure ” of the canoe and contents at Man-of-War Bay a legal and ” proper act? “
The answer we give is ” No.” Regulation 6 of Regulations No. 33 of 1929 only applies to entry into Nigeria Inland Waters direct from the inland waters of the French Cameroons. The learned Acting Assistant Judge evidently confused ” inland waters ” with ” territorial waters.” The canoe in question was found and seized in Man-of-War Bay which is territorial waters, but not inland waters.