Madu Fatumani V. The King (1950)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Statement by suspected person to a Village Head in answer to a remark by
Head—Village Head in same position as a Police Officer, and to be regarded
as a person in authority investigating a crime—Right to question a suspected
person when no decision to charge has been made—Distinction between threat
or promise and a moral adjuration.
The appellant was convicted of murder. A hue and cry was raised and the appellant was apprehended running away from the scene of the crime and brought before the Village Head, who said to him that he should not trouble his fellows and if he had done it he should say so.
Counsel for the appellant submitted that any statements following that observation were inadmissible as no caution had been given.
The remark of the Village Head was merely a moral adjuration not amounting to a “threat or promise. A Village Head was a person in authority and in the same position as a Police Officer investigating a crime.
The person questioned by his Head was only a suspected person concerning whom no decision to charge him with the crime had been made. In endeavouring to discover the author of a crime, the person suspected can be questioned, and the remark of the Village Head did not render inadmissible the appellant’s reply.