Rex V. Amadu Adamu (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Law—Homicide—Possible alternatives to be considered by Court—Presumptions—Onus of proof.
The Court having found as a fact that the Defendant had killed the deceased and done so intentionally having regard to the wounds inflicted on the deceased, without any evidence proving malice aforethought in the nature of motive or otherwise, found the Defendant guilty of murder. On appeal :-
that (1) the onus of proving that the killing amounted to murder was on the prosecution and that there was no onus on the defendant to prove that no crime had been committed even though such proof rested upon facts peculiarly within his own knowledge ;
- Where the evidence indicates a clash between the defendant and the deceased who went armed for a fight the presumption should be that the deceased must have been the aggressor ;
- In such circumstances the trial Judge has a duty to consider very carefully what the killing amounted to—mutrder, manslaughter or justifiable homicide—and to bear in mind that even intentional killing might be justifiable if the only way to avoid being killed.
The Appellant is discharged.