Rex V. Samuel Ribeira Okyere Bau (1944)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Criminal Law and Procedure—Charge of Libel under s. 246 (2) of Criminal Code—Denial of publication for the first time by defendant in his evidence—Permission to prosecution to call rebutting evidence after close of defence—Criminal Procedure Code, s. 275.
Defendant was charged with intentional libel, and to prove publication the prosecution put in the newspaper containing the article complained of, an open letter to the Commissioner of Police, purporting to be signed by defendant, and a letter in identical terms to the Commissioner proved to be signed by defendant. The cross-examination was directed to justification and there was no suggestion that defendant was denying publication. When defendant came to give evidence, to the surprise of everyone he denied publication and this defence was adopted by his Counsel.
Thereupon Counsel for the Crown intimated that he would call rebutting evidence on the point, and was permitted so to do by the trial Judge after the close of the defence. The defendant appealed, inter alia, on the ground that the trial Judge should not have so permitted. On appeal :
that the discretion to allow the prosecution to call rebutting evidence should be exercised only in exceptional cases, but that as the evidence of publication by defendant adduced by the Crown in the first instance was sufficient in the ordinary way and there had been no suggestion of denial of publication, the making of such a denial by the defendant for the first time in his evidence and his giving evidence that it was not he but another person who sent the letter for publication, constituted ” new facts ” under s. 275 of the Criminal Procedure Code justifying the trial Judge in allowing the prosecution to call rebutting evidence.
The appeal is accordingly dismissed.