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Rex V. Augustus William Ko jo Thompson (1944) LJR-WACA

Rex V. Augustus William Ko jo Thompson (1944)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Criminal Law—Criminal Code, ss. 3, 5, 6 (3), 394—Gold Coast Colony (Legislative Council) Order in Council, 1925. The British Settlements Act, 1887 (50 f7 51 Via., c. 54).

Facts

Defendant was charged before the Assize Court, Accra, with corruption and extortion as a public officer, being the elected Municipal Member for Accra in the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast, and the trial judge found that he, as such member, offered to permit his conduct to be influenced by a gift and unlawfully demanded money ; but the Judge was in doubt whether defendant was or was not a public officer within the definition of ” public officer ” in s. 5 of the Criminal Code, having regard to the fact that the election of such a member was regulated by the Gold Coast Colony (Legislative Council) Order in Council, 1925, and the Electoral Regulations thereunder, neither of which was an Act of Parliament or Ordinance or formally expressed to be made under such an Act or Ordinance, and he stated a case for the opinion of the West African Court of Appeal. ” Public Officer ” is defined in s. 5 of the Criminal Code as a person holding any one of the offices therein named, inter cilia ” any office to which a person is nominated or appointed by statute or by public election ” ; and ” ‘ public election ‘ means any election the qualification for voting at which, or the mode of voting at which, is determined or regulated by statute “.

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The crux was whether the election was under a statute “, which is defined in s. 3 of the Code as ” any Act of Parliament or Ordinance, and any orders or rules or regulations made under the authority of any Act of Parliament or Ordinance ‘: ; and the main question (dealt with at length in the opinion) was whether the 1925 Order in Council was made under the authority of the British Settlements Act, 1887.

Held

(1) that the position of elected Municipal Member of Legislative Council Is an ” office ” within the meaning of s. 5 (2) of the Criminal Code ;

  1. that the Gold Coast Colony (Legislative Council) Order in Council. 1t25, is an ” order ” within the meaning of that term as used in s. 3 of the Criminal Code ;
  2. that the election of the defendant as Muncipal Member for Accra was an election the qualification for voting at which is determined by the 1925 ‘.3rder in Council.
  3. that though the 1925 Order in Council is not formally issued under the authority of the British Settlements Act, 1887, it is in fact so made, and is therefore a ‘ statute ” within the meaning of that term as defined in s. 3 of the Criminal Code.
  4. that the election was therefore a ” public election ” within the meaning of s. 5 of the Criminal Code, and the defendant consequently a ” public office within the definition in that section.

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