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Dickson Owusu Gya V. The Queen (1954) LJR-WACA

Dickson Owusu Gya V. The Queen (1954)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Criminal Law and Procedure—Homicide—Cause of death.
Appeals in Criminal Cases—Conviction of manslaughter—Causing grievous harm substituted.
Criminal Procedure Code, section 141 (2).
West African Court of Appeal Ordinance, section 11 (2).

Facts

The appellant was convicted of manslaughter and appealed on the ground that the-cause of death had not been proved. The doctor who performed the post mortem testified that in his view the deceased (whom the appellant had stabbed on the neck) died of blood poisoning due to an old inflammation of the brain; that the stab wound could have accelerated the death, but it was not serious, and he was not prepared to say that it did hasten death. Counsel for the Crown suggested a verdict of causing grievous harm instead, by virtue of section 141 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code and section 11 (2) of the W.A.C.A. Ordinance.

This section 11 (2) reads as follows:—
“Where an appellant has been convicted of an offence and the Judge who tried him or the jury (as the case may be) could on the information or charge have found him guilty of some other offence, and on the finding of the Judge or jury it appears to the Court of Appeal that the Judge or jury must have been satisfied of facts which proved him guilty of that other offence, the Court may, instead of allowing or dismissing the appeal, substitute for the verdict found by such Judge or jury a verdict of guilty of that other offence, and pass such sentence in substitution for the sentence passed at the trial as may be warranted in law for that other offence, not being a sentence of greater severity.”

See also  Addo Kofi & Ors V. Kwaku Twum & Ors (1942) LJR-WACA

Section 141 of the Criminal Procedure Code reads thus:—
“(1) When a person is charged with an offence consisting of several particulars a combination of some only of which constitutes a complete minor offence, and such combination is proved but the remaining particulars are not proved he may be convicted of the minor offence although he was not charged with it.

“(2) When a person is charged with an offence and facts are proved which reduce it to a minor offence he may be convicted of the minor offence although he was not charged with it.”

Held

The doctor went no further than saying that the stab wound could have accelerated the man’s death; but what was needed was proof that the stab wound did cause or accelerate the death; therefore the conviction for manslaughter could not be supported.

Held also: It was clear from the verdict that the jury were satisfied of facts which proved the appellant guilty of intentionally and unlawfully causing grievous harm, and a verdict of guilty thereof would be substituted under the sections referred to by counsel for the Crown.


Verdict of causing grievous harm substituted.

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