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Inspector-General of Police V. Laud Lartey (1934) LJR-WACA

Inspector-General of Police V. Laud Lartey (1934)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Summary trial of offences appropriated for trust with a jury.under section 116 of Criminal Procedure Ordinance—Jurisdiction _to hear such cases summarily or commit for trial given- by sections 17 and 18 of Commissioner’s Ordinance (Cap. 1.3)— Form of trial within discretion of Magistrate not at election of Accused.

Held: Magistrate was right in determining ease summarily..

K. A. Bossman for Accused.

G. L. Howe for Crown.

The following joint judgment was delivered :—

KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, AITKEN AND GRAHAM PAUL, J .J

The question submitted in this case stated by Yates, J. is ” whether a person charged in an inferior Court with an offence ” that is triable either summarily or upon information may elect ” whether he will be triable summarily or upon information “.

The accused stands charged before the Police Magidzate, Koforidua, with two offences, viz :—

(a) Forgery under section 306 of Cap. 29.
(h) Stealing under section. 276 of Cap. 29.

Forgery is an offence appropriated by Order of the Governor in Council to be tried with a jury under the provisions of section 11.6 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap. 31); so also is stealing unless the charge is laid under sub-section (1) of section 276.

Section 116 of Chapter 31 provides that ” the Governor in ” Council may . . . . provide by order for appropriating any ” offence or class of offences not punishable by death to be tried ” with a jury, . . . . and any person charged with an offence ” directed by any such order to be tried with a jury shall, be so ” tried accordingly “.

It is contended on behalf of the accused person that he has the right to claim to be tried by a jury in accordance with the provisions of that section instead of being tried summarily, although the Police Magistrate may have juriscliction. to deal with the case summarily.

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Such a right is given to an accused person in similar cases in England by section 17 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, and it is contended that a similar right must be taken as existing in the Gold Coast, the local law being silent upon the point. The question is purely one of procedure, and section 116, from which the above quotation is taken, comes under Division 2 bf Part 5 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, which division deals with the mode of trial upon information. The section provides how a trial shall be conducted when it takes place upon information; it does not confer upon an accused person a general right of trial by jury in the case of the appropriate offences.

Matters of procedure are governed entirely by local laws, and this is made clear by section 15 of the Supreme Court Ordinance (Cap. 158) which reads :—

” The jurisdiction by this Ordinance vested in the ” Supreme Court shall be exercised (so far as regards

procedure and practice) in the manner provided by ” this and the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, or by ” such rules and orders of Court as may be made ” pursuant to this Ordinance “.

The Police Magistrate’s Court forms part of the Supreme Court by virtue of section 3 (1) of the Police Magistrates’ Ordinance (Cap. 132) and by section 4 of the same Ordinance every Police Magistrate enjoys all the judicial and magisterial powers and functions of a District Commissioner, subject to modifications increasing his powers.

The section of the Commissioners Ordinance (Cap. 23) dealing with the procedure when an offence is triable either summarily or upon information is number 18 and reads :-

 “ If any offence in respect whereof a District Commis” sioner has jurisdiction under section 17 hereof is

also triable on information, he may, if he thinks ” fit, commit the accused for trial on information ” instead of determining such offence summarily “.

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If the legislature had intended to give every person accused of an indictable offence the right to elect to be committed for trial by the Supreme Court it would have been easy to have added the appropriate words to that section as was done in England in 1879, but no such provision was added.

Section 17 of the same Ordinance confers upon a District Commissioner jurisdiction to hear and determine in a summary manner the offences now under consideration provided that he is of opinion that the case will be adequately dealt with by imprisonment of the description or either of the descriptions applicable by law to the offences for a term not exceeding six months or with a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or with both.

Such a right is given to an accused person in similar cases in England by section 17 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, and it is contended that a similar right must be taken as existing in the Gold Coast, the local law being silent upon the point. The question is purely one of procedure, and section 116, from which the above quotation is taken, comes under Division 2 bf Part 5 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, which division deals with the mode of trial upon information. The section provides how a trial shall be conducted when it takes place upon information; it does not confer upon an accused person a general right of trial by jury in the case of the appropriate offences.Matters of procedure are governed entirely by local laws, and this is made clear by section 15 of the Supreme Court Ordinance (Cap. 158) which reads :—” The jurisdiction by this Ordinance vested in the ” Supreme Court shall be exercised (so far as regardsprocedure and practice) in the manner provided by ” this and the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, or by ” such rules and orders of Court as may be made ” pursuant to this Ordinance “.The Police Magistrate’s Court forms part of the Supreme Court by virtue of section 3 (1) of the Police Magistrates’ Ordinance (Cap. 132) and by section 4 of the same Ordinance every Police Magistrate enjoys all the judicial and magisterial powers and functions of a District Commissioner, subject to modifications increasing his powers.The section of the Commissioners Ordinance (Cap. 23) dealing with the procedure when an offence is triable either summarily or upon information is number 18 and reads :- “ If any offence in respect whereof a District Commis” sioner has jurisdiction under section 17 hereof isalso triable on information, he may, if he thinks ” fit, commit the accused for trial on information ” instead of determining such offence summarily “.If the legislature had intended to give every person accused of an indictable offence the right to elect to be committed for trial by the Supreme Court it would have been easy to have added the appropriate words to that section as was done in England in 1879, but no such provision was added.Section 17 of the same Ordinance confers upon a District Commissioner jurisdiction to hear and determine in a summary manner the offences now under consideration provided that he is of opinion that the case will be adequately dealt with by imprisonment of the description or either of the descriptions applicable by law to the offences for a term not exceeding six months or with a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or with both.

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