Rex V. Ani Nwokarafor & Ors (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Law—Murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide—Circumstances attending the killing—Crown’s onus of proof-.-Benefit of doubt in absence of evidence.
Defendants following footprints found deceased and a cow belonging to 1st defendant tied to a tree. Deceased ran away and was chased. When defendants came up with him, be showed fight and tried to defend himself with his machete and escape. First defendant struck him with a stick, and the others beat him with machetes until he died. They were all convicted of murder and appealed. On appeal :—
(1) that in the circumstances the convictions for murder could not be sustained ;
that whether it was (a) manslaughter, or (b) justifiable homicide would depend on (1) whether death was caused after possibility of resistance had ceased, or (ii) fatal blow was struck while deceased still defending himself with machete ;
that in absence of evidence either way, the appellants should be given the benefit of the doubt ;
The Appellants are discharged.