Rex V. Ebenezer Tawiah & Ors (1939)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Skaling contra section 271 (2) of Criminal Code.
Twenty-nine accused were uniformed members of the band of the Territorial Court. Forces and were travelling on two lorries (the drivers of which were the other two accused) from Cape Coast to Accra. In the course of the journey looting occurred
at two villages and arising from it all accused were charged on three counts with stealing contra section 271 (2) of the Criminal Code. By inadvertence sixteen only of the accused were mentioned by name in the information in respect of count 2. There was no individual identification of the accused but circumstantial evidence of identification was led. At the trial all but two of the accused were represented by counsel who did not call evidence. The two accused who were unrepresented gave evidence on their own behalf and called two of the co-accused in their defence, and the latter in the course of their evidence denied the charges in tote. In his summing up the learned trial Judge mistakenly informed the Jury that none of the accused who were represented by counsel had given evidence. The thirty one accused were convicted on all three counts and appealed against their convictions and sentences.
With regard to the two appellants who were witnesses for two of the other appellants there was misdirection of the Jury and their appeals allowed ; with regard to the fifteen appellants whose names did not appear on the information in respect of count 2 their convictions on that count were quashed ; all other appeals dismissed there being ample evidence upon which to convict but all sentences reduced from imprisonment to fines.
The appellants will be given until 12 noon on Monday, the 27th November, 1939, to pay their fines and enter into their recognizances.