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Rex V. Joseph Yesufu Alias Obaiga (1935) LJR-WACA

Rex V. Joseph Yesufu Alias Obaiga (1935)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Convictions for receiving stolen property and preparation for coining—latter quashed for insufficient evidence—sentence on Appeal former reduced.

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

Appellant in person.

A. 1?. W. Sayle for Crown.Court.

The following judgment was delivered :— YATES, Acting C.J., GOLD COAST.

The accused was charged with burglary, stealing and receiving stolen goods and under these three counts he was convicted on the third count namely of receiving stolen goods knowing the same to have been stolen and sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour. He was further charged with ” Preparation for coining current silver coin contrary to section 148 (3) of the Criminal Code,” the particulars of the offence being that on a certain date he had in his possession a mould upon which there was then impressed the apparent resemblance of both sides of the King’s current silver shilling of Nigerian currency. He was convicted under this fourth count and sentenced to eight years imprisonment -with hard labour to run concurrently with the former sentence.

From these convictions he has appealed on four grounds namely :—

  1. My house was searched in my absence (under custody).
  2. The mould alleged to be found in my trousers pocket is not a personal property of mine.
  3. No circumstantial evidence to support my conviction.
  4. Misreception of the evidence of the three Court Messengers who searched my house.

There is no substance in any of the grounds except ground 2 and we are of opinion that he was rightly convicted of receiving stolen property.

See also  Sterios Thomopulos & Anor. V. John Mandilas (1944) LJR-WACA

The Court is unable to support the conviction under section 148 (3) of the Criminal Code on the ground that it finds that the evidence is insufficient to support the charge. That there must

have been present in the mind of the trial Judge some doubt in the case is shown in his summing up of the case when he states as follows :—

” The possibility presents itself of the mould having been placed there by some other person and it struck me as somewhat strange that it was not observed immediately that the pocket contained an article of some weight and bulk “.

We entirely agree with the trial Judge but we cannot understand why he should expect the accused to suggest how the mould came in his trousers pocket if he did not put it there.

Although the discovery of bellows, tools and charcoal in the prisoner’s lodging may be of some importance in its bearing on the question, this fact is not conclusive of the guilt of the accused who alleges that he is a goldsmith by trade.

The element of doubt still remains and the accused must have the benefit of it.

The conviction under section 148 (3) must therefore be quashed.

As to the sentence of two years imposed by conviction under third count we find the sentence excessive.

All the accused was convicted of was receiving stolen property which the trial Judge assessed at five shillings.


We reduce this sentence to one of six months imprisonment with hard labour.

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