Rex V. Azoribe Apuogu & Ors (1940)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Murder—Accomplice,–Corroboration witness set out with accused to execute a common purpose part of which was the murder of deceased though it was not part of the plan that he should take a share in the actual murder and he did not do so.
Held : The witness was in law equally guilty and was an accomplice but there was corroboration in the evidence of a witness who testified that he saw the accused close to the house of the deceased earlier on the evening of the murder.
R. v. Mains 3 Cox 526 followed.
The facts of the case are sufficiently set out in the judgment.
C. N. S. Pollard for Crown.
W . Wells Palmer for Appellants.
The following joint judgment was delivered :–
KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, PETRIDES, C.J. -GOLD COAST AND GRAHAM PAUL, C.J., SIERRA LEONE.
In this case the four Appellants were convicted in the High Court of the Enugu-Onitsha Division of the, murder of a woman named Agwanma Akajuba and sentenced to death. The principal evidence against them was that of a man named Joseph, and that evidence clearly shows the crime to have been committed by the four accused.
The learned Trial judge believed his evidence, but held them to be an accomplice, and so looked for corroboration of his evidence before convicting the accused.
As to whether or not Joseph was an accomplice, we agree with the Trial Judge that he was, and disagree with the submission made to us by Counsel on behalf of the Crown that he was not. According to his own evidence Joseph set cut with the four accused to execute a common purpose part of which was the murder of the woman Agwanma Akajuba, and although it was not part of the plan that he should take a hand in the actual murder and he did not in fact do so, he would be held in law equally guilty with the others of the murder. The appeal to this Court is based substantially on the sill–mission that Joseph’s evidence was uncorroborated and so should not have been acted upon.
&s to this the case of the first Appellant presents no difficulty’, there was ample evidence sufficiently connecting him with the crime as to afford the necessary corroboration. As to the 2nd Appellant almost the only corroboration, and as to the 3rd and 4th Appellants the only corroboration is to be found in the evidence of one Opara, who testifies that he saw the four accused close to the house of the deceased earlier on the evening of the murder. The Trial Judge carefully considered whether this did or did not amount to corroboration and after considering the question in the light of R. v. Mullins 3 Cox page 526, a case which he, rightly in our opinion, thought to be in point, came to the conclusion that it did. We agree with him.
The appeals of all the Appellants are therefore dismissed.