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Rex V. Joseph Williams (1935) LJR-WACA

Rex V. Joseph Williams (1935)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Charge against lorry driver for manslaughter contra. section 325 of Criminal Code of three persons on one count—acquittal in respect of one and conviction in respect of two—standard of criminal negligence discussed.

Held: Appeal allowed.

It is not necessary to set out the facts of this case.

Montacute Thompson for Appellant.

A. R. TV. Sayle for Crown does not support conviction.

The following judgment was delivered:—


This conviction cannot stand and the learned Acting Solicitor-General who appears for the Crown states that he is unable to support it. The accused was charged in one count with the manslaughter of three persons, section 325 of the Criminal Code. As t he offences were made the subject of a single count they must he looked upon as consisting of one single act, for it is a well established rule of law that no one count may charge an accused with having committed two or more separate offences. In view of the above it was not open to the learned Judge to acquit the accused of the manslaughter of the child Victoria and convict him of the manslaughter of the other two persons.

Further, it appears from the record that the learned Judge accepted the evidence of the defence that it was in trying to avoid the c4ild Victoria who ran suddenly into the road that the accused’s lorry struck the other two persons. Criminal negligence may be deti!►od as negligence of smell a itature_that it ammints to a reckless disrrqfprIt for th0 livep of others. The learned Judge having been satisfied that it was in trying to avoid the child Victoria that the accused’s lorry struck the other two persons, we fail to see how the accused eotild be properly held to be guilty of causing the deaths of those other two persons by criminal negligence nor do we agree that the accused was driving at an excessive speed at the time the child, Victoria, ran out into the road.

See also  Lawani Brimah Onisiwo & Ors V. Taiwo Gbamgboye & Ors (1941) LJR-WACA

For the above,reasons the conviction must be quashed.

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