Rex V. Odita (1942)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal-law—Negligent escape contrary to section 138 of Criminal Code—Appellant, a Court Messenger employed by a Native Administration, permitted prisoner to escape—Magistrate convicted—High Court upheld conviction.
Appellant was a Court Messenger employed by the Asaba Clan Native Administration. He negligently permitted a prisoner in his lawlful custody to escape.
Held: Conviction wrong. A Native Administration Court Messenger is not a member of a police force within the meaning of the section(‘).
C. TV. Reece for Crown.
Appellant not present.
The following joint judgment was delivered :—
KINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, BUTLER LLOYD Mm BROOKE, JJ., NIGERIA.
The charge against the appellant in this case was
” Permitting negligent escape contra. Criminal Code section 138 “
and the particulars given were
” Odita, being a member of a Police Force, namely a Court ” Messenger of the Asaba Clan at Asaba, Warri-Benin Magisterial Area ” on the night of the 21st-22nd of March negligently permitted a ” prisoner Awudu, handed to him for lawful custody to escape from the ” N.A. Lock-up with leg irons on. Contra. Criminal Code 138.”
We are of opinion that the conviction cannot be upheld since, in our view, a Native Administration Court Messenger quite obviously is not a member of a police force within the meaning of the section.
The finding and sentence are reversed and the -appellant is acquitted and discharged.