Emmanuel Ogundipe & Ors V. The Queen (1954)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Code, section 422—” By deceit or fraudulent means ” affect entire
The appellants, who were in a position to influence members of a union of labourers, demanded from contractors higher rates than had been usual; they were charged with an offence under section 422 of the Criminal Code with conspiracy to extort, and convicted.
The section makes it an offence in a person to conspire with another “by deceit or fraudulent means to affect the market price of anything publicly sold, or to defraud the public, or any person … or to extort any property from any person ”.
It was submitted that there was no proof of “fraudulent means” having been used to extort the money demanded, but the learned Judge ruled that those words applied only to the words “to affect the market price of anything publicly sold” and no further. In the appeal the argument was on this point of construction.
The words “by deceit or fraudulent means” govern all the words that follow, and it was necessary to prove that the conspiracy was to extort by deceit or fraudulent means.