Rex V. Okebugwu Ogbonna (1941)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal law—Offence of Cheating under section 421 of the Criminal Code.
The facts established an offence of false pretences contra. section 419 of the Criminal Code: it was contended for the Crown that they also constitute an offence under section 421 (Cheating) but it was held that as there was no evidence that the gilding was done by appellant or for the purpose of the fraud, the conviction under that section could not stand.
Appellant in person.
Unsworth for Crown.
The following joint judgment was delivered :—
BUTLER LLOYD, ACTING C.J., NIGERIA, BROOK AND JEFFREYS, JJ.
In this case the appellant was charged with the offence of cheating contra. section 421 of the Criminal Code. The particulars being that he did on the 5th May, 1941, fraudulently obtain the sum of £3 from one Victoria Peter. It was established by the evidence for the prosecution that appellant called on the complainant, told her a hard luck story, and induced her to lend him £3 on the security of some trinkets he showed her and which he said were all gold and worth £6. These trinkets were subsequently found to be brass gilded over.
It is abundantly clear that on these facts appellant might properly have been convicted of an offence against section 419 (false pretences) but counsel for the Crown has argued that they also constitute an offence against section 421, and suggested that the gilding of the trinkets, although not specified in the particulars, was such a trick as to bring the case within this .–,ection. We are unable to agree with this. There was no evidence that the gilding was done by appellant or by his orders ,r for the purpose of this fraud. We are accordingly constrained -o hold that in the absence of such evidence the conviction under section 421 cannot stand and that the appeal must be allowed. We have come to this conclusion reluctantly because it is clear that appellant perpetrated a heartless fraud for which he titoroughly deserved punishment.
The appeal must be allowed, the conviction and sentence set and a verdict of acquittal entered,