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Rex V. Amissah (1946) LJR-WACA

Rex V. Amissah (1946)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Receiving stolen property—Constructive possession.

Before a person can be convicted of dishonestly receiving goods, there must be physical or constructive possession. ” Constructive possession ” means that the goods must be in the possession of a person whose relationship with the accused was such that the goods would be forthcoming at the request of the accused.

Cases referred to:

  1. R. v. Freedman, 22 Cr. App. R. 133.
  2. 1?. v. Hill, 3 Cox 533.

Appeal from Supreme Court of the Gold Coast.

Akufo Addo for Quist-Therson for Appellant.

Hutton Mills for Crown.

The following judgment was delivered:

Beoku-Betts, J. The appellant was charged, in the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast, Eastern Judicial Division, jointly with one Ebenezer Oseku Afful, with the offence of dishonestly receiving 10 (44-gallon) drums of aviation petrol which they knew to have been stolen contrary to section 284 (1) of the Criminal Code. Afful was acquitted and discharged, while the appellant was convicted and sentenced to a term of one-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. He has appealed against such conviction on several grounds. The appeal was allowed and the conviction quashed on the ground that there was no proof in law that the appellant did receive the goods alleged to have been stolen.

We have carefully considered the evidence in the case and .are of the opinion that they do not prove that the appellant received the 10 drums of petrol or any portion of them either physically or constructively. Before a person can be convicted of dishonestly receiving goods or of any kindred offence, there must be established that he either physically received the goods or that they were in the possession of a person over whom he had control. R. v. Freedman (1). To satisfy the requirements of constructive possession the goods must be in the possession of a person whose relationship with the accused in respect of them was such that they would be forthcoming at the request of the accused. (Archbold’s Criminal Pleadings, etc., 31 Edn., p. 725.)

See also  Amokwandoh V. United African Co. Ltd & Anor (1933) LJR-WACA

It is not sufficient that the accused had claimed them and had seen them or had promised to send for them, or to take delivery of them, if the goods were not actually delivered. (R. v. Hill (2) ).

For these reasons we quashed the conviction and discharged the appellant.


Appeal allowed.

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