Rex V. Albert Fumeh (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Law—Murder—Trial with Jury—Judge’s summing-up– ManslaughSer—Evidence—Frosecution not calling certain witnesses.
Defendant was charged with the murder of one Moiwu, but the jury’s verdict was manslaughter, though the Judge suggested to them he was either guilty or not guilty of murder.
Defendant is an Army sergeant, deceased was a labourer ; they, with others, were travelling on a train. The labourers were asked to show their tickets ; and the prosecution’s case was that Defendant, a..s the train ran rapidly along, pushed deceased out of the front door, which gave directly on to the permanent way, and caused his death ; the defence being that deceased was not pushed but jumped out with others because threatened by Defendant with arrest on arrival at Gerihun for travelling without tickets.
On appeal the main points taken, were (1) that the verdict could not be supported by the evidence ; (2) that the Judge misdirected the jury in suggesting they might find Defendant guilty of manslaughter in purely hypothetical circumstances ; (3) that hearsay evidence had been admitted ; and (4) that only two labourers were called by the Crown out of 21 labourers and several soldiers who witnessed the alleged murder.
(1) that the inconsistencies in the witnesses’ statements had been drawn to the attention of the jury, therefore their verdict on those questions of fact should not be upset;
- that manslaughter was a reasonable verdict on three possible alternative views of the circumstances of the case, and the summing-up erred, if anything, in putting only one : but in view of the verdict, there had been no substantial ‘misdirection;
- that the hearsay evidence was adopted or brought out by the defence in cross-examination, and could not be objected to ;
- that there being no suggestion that the Crown failed to call any persons whose whereabouts were known and who could speak to the circumstances of the offence, there was no ground to upset the verdict, for which there was ample evidence.
All the grounds of appeal fail and the appeal is dismissed.