Rex V. Mama Timbuktu (1937)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Conviction for murder—Question of reduction to manslaughter withdrawn from jury.
Held : Such question was for the jury, and verdict substituted under section 11 (2) of the West African Court of Appeal Ordinance.
The facts of this case are sufficiently set out in the judgment. K. A. Korsah for Appellant.
T. A. Brown for Crown.
The following joint judgment was delivered :-
KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, PETRIDES, C.J., GOLD COAST, AND WEBBER, C.J., SIERRA LEONE.
In this case the appellant was convicted at the Assizes at Cape Coast of the murder of one Akwesi. In his summing up to the jury the learned Judge directed them that there was no ground for reducing the offence to manslaughter, though he left to them the question of whether the case might be one of justifiable homicide. In withdrawing from the jury the question of the case being one possibly of manslaughter, we think that the trial Judge was wrong. The circumstances were that the deceased was assisting a native Tribunal policeman to effect the unlawful arrest of the appellant at a time when appellant had good reason to fear that he might be seized and carried off as a sacrifice. The question should have been left to the jury whether there were not such circumstances aggravating the assault upon appellant as would reduce the crime from murder to manslaughter. If that question had been so left to the jury, it is possible, if not probable,, that they would have returned a verdict of manslaughter instead of murder ; whilst on their verdict it is certain that they would have found one or the other. Our own view is that the proper verdict would have been one of manslaughter. For these reasons, and acting under the special power of the Court given by section 11 (2) of the West African Court of Appeal Ordinance, we substitute for the verdict found by the jury a verdict of guilty of manslaughter and sentence the appellant to imprisonment with hard labour for three years to date from the 24th February, 1937.