Rex V. Daniel Ajiyola & Ors (1943)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Law—Evidence—Wife of co-accused not ccrmpeten4 witness for prosecution—Presumption of Christian marriage where husband and wife both sworn on bible.
One of the witnesses called by the prosecution described herself as the wife of appellant’s co-accused. She was sworn on the Bible. Appellant’s co-accused gave evidence in his own defence but described her as his wife, and was also sworn on the Bible.
Held : That there was a presumption that they were the husband and wife of .a Christian marriage, and Held, accordingly, that the wife was not competent as a witness other than upon the application of her husband. appellant’s co-accused. Conviction and sentence quashed.
Case referred to :—
R. v. Mount 4 anor. (24 Cr. App. It., 135). The facts are sufficiently set, out in the judgment. S. A. McKinstry for Crown.
The following joint judgment was delivered :—
KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, BUTLER LLOYD AND FRANCIS, JJ.
There is only one point of substance in this appeal and that is that the conviction of the appellant rested upon the evidence of a woman named Eunice Adeye who is the wife of a co-accused named Daniel Ajiyola. Both the woman and the co-accused in giving evidence were sworn on the Bible. She said ” the first accused is my husband “, and he described her as his wife. It must be taken that they are the husband and wife of a ” Christian marriage ” and the woman was only a competent witness if called upon the application of the person charged. She was not so called and consequently was not a competent witness. The case of R v. Mount anor. (24 Cr. App. Rep. p. 135) is an. authority deciding that in such circumstances the conviction cannot stand.
The appeal is allowed, the conviction and sentence are quashed and it is directed that in the case of the appellant a judgment and verdict of acquittal be entered.
The appellant is discharged.