Rex V. Nanwiah Dagarti (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Law and Procedure—Trial with Assessors—MurderJudge’s omission to tell Assessors of benefit of reasonable doubt—Criminal Procedure Code, ss. 261 and 264.
Defendant was tried by a Judge sitting with Assessors, to whom, in his summing-up, he omitted to say that defendant was entitled to the benefit of any reasonable doubt. This omission was the only ground of substance in the appeal.
that where a case is tried with ajury or assessors, the Judge should explain to them that Defendant should be given the benefit of any reasonable doubt and record the fact that he did so explain.
Hold also, that as the assessors merely gave opinions (and not a verdict like a jury) and the decision rested with the Judge, it must be presumed that he did not overlook the principle of reasonable doubt in coming to his decision.
Held further, that as appellant had admitted facts in law amounting to murder properly directed the assessors would have expressed the same opinions.
There is no substance in any of the other grounds of appeal and the appeal is dismissed.