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Rex V. Nji Achie & Ors (1947) LJR-WACA

Rex V. Nji Achie & Ors (1947)

LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal

Criminal Law and Procedure—Summary trial under Nigeria CriminalProcedure Ordinance, section 364—Applicability of Criminal ProcedureOrdinance, section 339—Joinder of charges—Criminal Procedure Ordinance,sections 156 to 161—Interpretatian thereof—Criminal Procedure Ordinance,section 338, Part X VIII and section 365–Applicability of section. 365-Duplicity—Nullity of proceedings.

Facts

The appellants were convicted of having murdered two persons, after a summary trial in the Supreme Court under section 364 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance. The appellants were charged in one count with the murder of the two persons.

Held

On appeal,

  1. No such prohibition as is to be found in section 339 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance exists in relation to a ” charge ” within the definition in section 2;
  2. Sections 157 to 161 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance are intended to make provision for the joinder of offences in one charge and not merely for the joint trial of different charges, in the cases to which those sections refer;
  3. It would be overstraining the Court’s power of interpretation to attempt to read into sections 157 to 161 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance a restriction imposed by section 339 upon a different though cognate method of procedure;
  4. Two murders should not be joined in one charge;
  5. Although a ” charge ” may be one statement embodying more than one offence, the legislature intended that each offence and the particulars thereof should be stated separately, so that there should not be one statement of more than one offence, but that where more than one offence is charged there should be an equal number of statements;
  6. It is improper to join in one count more than one offence;
  7. Section 365 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance applies only to the procedure at the trial and not to the form in which the charge is constituted;
  8. In the present case, the joindex of two charges of murder in one statement of offence was contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, the charge was bad for duplicity, there was no charge properly before the Court, the proceedings were a nullity and the appellants must be tried by a competent Court.
See also  Rex V. Amissah (1946) LJR-WACA

Appeals allowed.

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