Rex V. Joseph Emmanuel Odoi (1942)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal law—Counts of fraud by false pretence, contra. section 276 of Criminal Code and fraudulent breach of trust contrary to section .27J of the Criminal Code—Discretion of Judge to order separate trials—Border line cases relating to proof of an existing fact and of a promise for the future—Capacity in which appellant received the money.
Odoi represented to Sarah Blankaon that ” he, as Manager and Receiver of the estate of J. E. Mettle, deceased, honestly required the sum of £50 only to pay labourers working on cocoa farms of the estate of Mettle (deceased)”. He received the money from her and misappropriated it. He was charged alternatively with fraud by a false pretence, fraudulent breach of trust, and stealing.
It was argued that it was wrong for the appellant to stand his trial upon the three counts and that the Judge should have ordered separate trials. It was argued further that the promise was one relating to the future and was not an allegation of an existing fact. To sustain conviction upon the count of fraudulent breach of trust, prosecution must prove firstly that the ownership of the money become vested in the appellant as Manager and Receiver and secondly that appellant misappropriated that money whilst the ownership was so vested.
Not shown that the Judge exercised his discretion as to separate trials other than in a judicial manner.
Held further that the Court affirmed the Judge’s view that the false pretence was one as to an existing fact and not one relating to a promise for the future.
Held further that when appellant received the money he did so with intent to keep it for himself personally and not as Manager and Receiver of the Estate. That, in consequence, was fatal to a conviction upon second count.
Conviction on first count of fraud by false pretence upheld. Convictior upon second count of fraudulent breach of trust quashed.