Police V. Samuel Wogu Abengowe (1941)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Jurisdiction of Magistrate’s Court to hear a charge under section 22 of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Ordinance No. 20 of 1934—Plea of guilty—Autrefois convict.
Accused pleaded guilty before the Magistrate to a charge under section 22 of Ordinance No. 20 of 1934: he then found he had no jurisdiction and remitted the accused to the Supreme Court : a direction was given ander section 10 (3) of the Protectorate Courts Ordinance that the case should be tried by a Judge of the Supreme Court at Lagos. There was a plea of autrefois convict and attention was drawn to a previous decision in the High Court. The opinion of the Appeal Court was asked as to whether a Magistrate’s Court constituted under section 3 of Ordinance No. 45 of 1933 had jurisdiction to hear a charge under section 22 of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Ordinance 1934 and the answer to the question was in the affirmative.
Unsworth for Crown.
Appellant not present.
The following joint judgment was delivered :— BROOKE, FRANCIS ANn JEFFREYS, JJ.
This is a case stated for the opinion of this Court as to whether a Magistrate’s Court constituted under section 3 of Ordinance 45 of 1933 has jurisdiction to hear and determine a charge framed under section 22 of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Ordinance, 1934.
The facts are that the accused pleaded guilty to a charge under that section before the Magistrate of the Enugu Area who then found that he had no jurisdiction and remitted the accused to the Supreme Court : a direction under section 10 (3) of the Protectorate Courts Ordinance was then given that the matter should be heard at Lagos by a Judge of the Supreme Court. There was a plea of autrefois convict before the latter and attention was called to a decision on appeal in the High Court at Aba in 1937 (I? v. Chinaka) that a Magistrate had no jurisdiction to try such a charge. This point, however, was not argued in that case and the decision was based on the opinion that certain proceedings having been excluded from the jurisdiction of the High Court which is an Appellate Court from the Magistrate’s Court it must necessarily follow that such proceedings are impliedly excluded from the Magistrate’s jurisdiction.
But the original and appellate jurisdiction of Courts are entirely distinct and may be unlimited or limited by statute as to the nature of the actions and matters at which the particular Court has cognisance. The Magistrite’s original jurisdiction which is statutory cannot be made to d on the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court which is set out in section 20 of No. 45 of 1933. Further if the Nigh Court was excluded fro= appellate jurisdiction could a judge of the High Court in strictness hear the appeal in R v. Chiniska? The Magistrate’s Courts were established under section 3 of the Protectorate Courts Ordinance and section 33 of that Ordinance as amended by No. 15 of 1936 sets out the jurisdiction of Magistrates for the summary trial of criminal cases and section 22 of Ordinance No. 20 of 1984 creates an offence which in ouropinion comes within that jurisdiction, and there is no enactment which excludes such proceedings therefrom as it does in the ease of the original jurisdiction of the High Court.
The answer to the question in the ease stated is in -our opinion that the Magistrate had jurisdiction.