Rex V. Ogugua Onuoha (1936)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Convictions for preparation for coining contra section 148 (2) and 148 (3) (c) Criminal Code—Section 10 (1) of the West African Court of Appeal Ordinance, 1933, considered and applied.
Held : Convictions cannot be supported having regard to the evidence and appeal allowed.
The facts are sufficiently set out in the judgment.
Sir William Geary, Bart., and Wells Palmer for Appellant. Ivor Brace for Crown.
The following judgment was delivered :—
KINGDON, C. J., NIGERIA.
This is an appeal against the conviction of the accused on two counts, namely :-
- Preparation for coining gold and silver coin, contrary to section 148, subsection (2), of the Criminal Code.
Ogugua Onuoha on or about the 24th day of July, 1935, in the province of Owerri made four pieces of metal into a fit size or figure to facilitate the coining therefrom of four counterfeit current silver coins to wit resemblances of two current alloy one shilling and of two current alloy sixpenny pieces.
- Preparation for coining gold and silver coin, contrary to section 148, subsection (3) (c), of the Criminal Code.
Ogugua Onuoha without lawful authority or excuse on or about the 24th day of July, 1935, in the province of Owerri had in his possession thirty-four moulds adapted to make either sides of current silver coins to wit resemblances of current alloy florin and one shilling and sixpenny pieces or parts of either sides thereof knowing the same to be such moulds or to be so adapted.
The accused was convicted on both counts and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with hard labour on each count, the sentences to run concurrently.
The grounds of appeal are :—
(a) The Court was wrong in convicting me since the prosecution failed to prove that I had made or was privy to making the pieces of metal and or instruments exhibited.
- That the prosecution failed to prove any nuns rea in support of either of Rex the two charges, the bare possession being compatible with the act ofv.
some malicious person.Pgugua
- The Court was wrong in law in convicting me, the prosecution having Conuoha. failed to prove any guilty intent or guilty knowledge on my part as required by the provisions of section 148, subsection 2, and section 148 Ringdon, subsection 3 (c). .C J.
- There was at the trial a reasonable doubt of which I was not given the benefit by the Court.
- There was no legal evidence to justify my conviction on the two charges laid against me.
- Verdict against the weight of evidence.
The facts of the cases as proved by the prosecution are as follows :
On certain information received, Isaac Aba, P.C. No. 3877, in the early morning before daybreak in company with one Ukaeje, proceeded to the house of the accused and charged him with counterfeiting. The accused denied the charge and said that the constable could search his house. In company with the accused the constable proceeded to an open shed in the accused’s compound which the constable called a kitchen, but which was not a kitchen at all, and found counterfeit coins and thirty-four moulds wrapped up in a parcel on the top of the mud wall. There were ashes on the ground iri the shed where the exhibits were found. There were in all six huts in the compound and the constable admits that there was a kitchen in use where there were cooking utensils and a fireplace in its usual place. The evidence fairly established that this shed where the counterfeit coins were found was not in use. This parcel containing the counterfeit coins and moulds was in no way concealed, for as soon as the constable entered he said to the accused, ” What is that parcel on –the– walla there ? ” There is evidence that there was rain during the night and that fresh footprints were observed on the path leading to the shed. Accused spoke about these footprints, and according to his second witness lie did so after the parcel of moulds was found. It is significant that :—
- No one but the accused and the constable entered the shed.
- This shed was the first and only place searched.
- The shed is an open one, accessible to anyone through a broken part of the fence surrounding accused’s compound.
Beyond the fact that this parcel containing counterfeit coins and moulds- was found in this open shed in accused’s compound, there is no other evidence against the accused. By section 10 (1) of the West African Court of Appeal Ordinance, 1933, this Court can quash a conviction if in its opinion the conviction cannot be supported having regard to the evidence. This section is not unlike section of the Criminal Appeal Act, and there are several decisions in which convictions were quashed on the ground that the verdict was unreasonable having regard to the evidence. In Rex v. Frank
this cav Court feels that the conviction cannot be
–:.r..;–ard to the evidtnce, and that it would be unsafe to find a man guilty of offences of this kind under the circumstances of this case.
These are the reasons which led the Court to quash the conviction.