Rex V. Nwankwo & Anor (1946)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Joinder of offences—Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Nigeria), sections156 to 161.
The power of joinder of offences conferred by section 158 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance is, where the conditions laid down in that section are fulfilled, not limited by the provisions of section 157.
Case referred to:
(1) Dau v. Kano Native Authority Police, 12 W.A.C.A. 14.
Appeal from the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Taylor for Appellants.
Doherty, for the Crown.
The following joint judgment was delivered:
The appellants, who are constables of the Nigena Police Force, were tried at the December, 1945, Session of the Aba Judicial Division on an information containing ten counts of Extortion contra section 404 of the Criminal Code.
The period covered by the counts extended from 16th February to 1st March, 1945, both inclusive and as to the persons and property involved may be summarised as follows :-
Count 1. Demanding a goat from George Nehiba on 16th February.
- Taking a goat from George Nehiba on 17th February.
- Demanding £50 from Chief Paul Nwachukwu on 17th February.
- Taking £2 10s. Od. on 17th February. Not stated from whom.
- Demanding 80 yams from Chief Paul Nwachukwu on 19th February.
- Demanding 40 yams from Chief Paul Nwachukwu on 20th February.
- Compelling Ahudie Josiah to carry a basket of yams without payment on 20th February.
- Demanding £50 from Chief Paul Nwachukwu on 21st to 24th February.
- Taking £7 from Chief Paul Nwachukwu on 21st to 24th February.
- Taking £9 from Chief Paul Nwachukwu and others on 23rd February to 1st March.
The first appellant was convicted on counts 1, 2 and 7 and the second appellant on count 2. They now both appeal on several grounds, the only ground of substance being that the counts were improperly joined and tried together, and cite section 157 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance in support.
All the counts have reference to the charge on which George Nehiba was arrested and it is obvious on the face of them that they allege a series of offences of a similar character, and the question raised in this appeal is almost identical with the question raised and decided by this Court at this present session in the appeal of Dau v. Kano Native Authority Police (1).
We therefore consider it sufficient in this appeal to give a summary of that decision.
The governing section is section 156 which lays down the general rule that every
charge should be tried separately except in the cases mentioned in sections 157 to 161.
Sections 157 to 161 then each proceed to describe a different set of circumstances in which charges may be joined and we have decided and are still of the opinion that each of these sections is to be construed independently.
This being so, the limit of three counts imposed in the case propounded by section 157, is not to be read into the case propounded by section 158, and we hold that the counts, as they related to a series of offences under section 404 of the Criminal Code of a similar character and no application was made for a separate trial arid they being not so excessively numerous as to prejudice the appellants in their defence, were properly joined and tried together and we dismiss this appeal.