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Rex V. James Anuku (1940) LJR-WACA

Rex V. James Anuku (1940)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Murder—Sufficiency of evidence in support of plea of insanity—The cHiAppealofrom bTrial Judge held that the prisoner was not a mentally normalghperson but the evidence was not sufficiently explicit to establish a Coy urt. defence of insanity.

Held : Following R. v. True, 16 Criminal Appeal Report, p.167 that the Judge was entitled to say that the facts taken as a whole satisfied him that at the time of the act the prisoner was not insane. Appeal dismissed.

The facts of the case are sufficiently set out in the judgment.

Ian F. Cameron for Appellant. C. N. S. Pollard for Crown.

The following joint judgment was delivered :-


The grounds of appeal relied upon at the hearing of this appeal were :–

  1. The learned Trial Judge misdirected himself as to the sufficiency of the evidence before the Court in support of the plea of insanity, and
  2. That the murder was committed when accused was suffering from insanity.

In his summing up the Judge reviewed all the evidence relied on by Counsel in the Court below as to insanity. He then examined section 28 of the Criminal Code and came to the conclusion that the evidence fell far short of the requirements of that section .He went on the say ” I believe on the evidence and after observing prisoner in Gourt that he is not a mentally normal person, but the evidence as to his condition at the time is not nearly sufficiently explicit to establish the defence of insanity  


We have been asked to hold that, on the evidence given at the trial, the Judge ought to have found the appellant guilty but insane.

In the case of Ronald True, 16 C .A .R. at page 167, the present Lord Chief Justice of England, delivering the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeal, said :—

– on behalf of the appellant, it is said, first, that the werdict which the jury gave was against the weight of the evidence ; and in particular under that head of objection it is said that, as certain medical witnesses

were called on the part of the defence to say that the appellant was lux

v.only insane after the commission of the act but was certifiably insane when

Anukuhe was said to have committed it, and as no medical evidence was called to

contradict that view, therefore the jury were bound to accept it.


Petrides and In the opinion of the Court that contention is not sound. The jury

Graham were entitled to say that the facts of the case, taken as a whole, apart iron:

Paul, C. j J.any question whether the prosecution called medical evidence upon the

special point, satisfied them that at the date of the committing of the act the prisoner was not insane.

We are satisfied that there was nothing unsatisfactory in the summing up. The Judge was entitled to say that the facts of the case, taken as a whole, satisfied him that at the date of committing the act the prisoner was not insane. We are not prepared to reverse his finding of fact.

See also  Rex V. Egbe Iboko Alo (1942) LJR-WACA

For these reasons the appeal is dismissed.

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