Rex V. Frimpong (1937)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Conviction for murder—Use of words ” against you ” by arresting officer in administering caution.
Held : The use of such words is not illegal though it should be avoided : appeal dismissed.
It is not necessary to set out the facts of this case.
B. K. Tamakloe for Appellant.
T. A. Brown for the Crown.
The following joint judgment was delivered :—
PETRIDES, C.J., GOLD COAST BARTON AND SAVARY, JJ.
This is an appeal from a decision of Bannerman, J., who convicted appellant of murder and sentenced him to death. The learned Judge sat with assessors who gave their opinion that the appellant was guilty of murder.
Grounds of appeal without any particulars were filed, but, at the request of the Court, Counsel for appellant stated verbally particulars of these grounds, and it appears to us that Counsel’s main ground is that in administering the caution to the appellant before he made his statement, the police officer used the words
against you ” at the end.
In support of this Counsel referred to a statement in Archbold’s Criminal Pleadings, 28th Edition, page 407, which certainly does not support his submission and is in fact against it, but when the latest case cited R. v. Baldry (1852), 21 L. J. M.C. 130 is looked at, the point appears still more hopeless. At the end of the judgment of Pollock, C.B., who delivered the principal judgment of the Court for Crown Cases Reserved, this passage occurs : ” It is, I think, extremely important, as much for the protection of innocence as for the discovery of guilt, that the accused should have an opportunity of making a statement, and he should also be reminded that what he says may be used against him, and, if an admission of his guilt, would probably be used against him.”
It is true that the rules approved by His Majesty’s Judges in England some years ago for the guidance of police officers recommended that the words “- against you ” at the end of the caution should be omitted, and this recommendation has been generally adopted, but no authority has been cited to us since these rules
were made, and we know of none, that would support the view that the inclusion of these words makes the statement inadmissible provided that in other respects the statement is voluntary. It has not been suggested that this statement is not voluntary.
It was further contended in this Court by Counsel for appellant that the learned Judge had not considered the question of manslaughter. This submission is entirely refuted by the learned Judge’s summing-up, and we are of opinion that he not only considered it, but directed himself and the assessors properly on it.
On page 1 of his summing-up he states that the question of manslaughter was raised and that he dealt exhaustively with sections 288, 289 and 240 of the Criminal Code and the relevant sub-sections thereto.
• Sections 288 and 289 set out the cases in which murder is reduced to manslaughter, and the matters which amount to provocation, and section 240 gives the cases where the benefit of provocation is excluded.
It is clear to us that the language used by the learned Judge at the foot of page 1 and top of page 2 of his summing-up was referable to the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 238 and sub-section (1) (d) of section 240, in relation to the facts of the case, and that he brought his mind to bear on the various aspects of the matter and the relevant law.
We are of opinion that there is no substance in any of the grounds of appeal, and the appeal is dismissed.