Rex V. T. Olukolu & Ors (1939)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Judicial corruption contrary to section 114 (1) of the Criminal Code—Asking for and receiving of bribe separate offences—Corroboration of accomplices—Actus reus and mens rea with regard to accomplices.
HELD : That the learned Judge had sufficiently directed himself as to the separation of the two different acts of ” asking ” and of ” receiving ” which were combined in one charge, and that the act of ” asking ” was complete before a bribe was offered.
SEMBLE : that a spy who paid a bribe was not an accomplice as his act extended to the aaus reus and not to the nuns rea.
Rex versus George 4 N.L.R. distinguished. Appeal dismissed.
There is no need to set out the facts.
C. N. S. Pollard for Crown.
0. Alakija and 0. Martins for appellants. The following joint judgment was delivered.
BUTLER LLOYD, AG. C J., NIGERIA, GRAHAM PAUL AND
BROOKE, J J.
This was an appeal against a conviction for an offence against section 114 (1) of the Criminal Code. The trial Judge in finding the accused guilty of judicial corruption records his reasons that ” in my opinion the section under which the charge is laid makes ” asking ” for a bribe an offence and the ” receiving ” of a bribe another separate offence. The particulars charge the accused with ” asking and receiving ” a bribe . . . I shall cure the irregularity, if irregularity it he, by finding him guilty of corruptly asking for the sum of £2 and excluding the receiving.”
The grounds of appeal are :—-
- No sufficient and legal evidence to justify the conviction.
- No corroborative evidence to support the conviction.
- The learned Judge misdirected himself by holding that there was sufficient corroboration of the evidence of accomplices.
- Verdict against the weight of evidence.
- The learned trial Judge misdirected himself by holding that although there was a political conspiracy by the witnesses for the Crown against the appellant, yet that it has no bearing or weight to discredit their evidence.
|6. Conclusive evidence of a trap laid for the appellant by the witnesses for the Prosecution.
Further grounds were added :—
- Misdirection by trial Judge as to the evidence given by the Lloyd,
witness T. E. R. A. Green.Ag• C.J•,
- As to the act or omission forming the consideration of the p Gawra and bribe.Brooke, jj.
- Misdirection and non-direction as to the defence generally put forward.
The learned Counsel for the appellant referred to the embarrassment caused by the combination of the two different acts of ” asking ” and ” receiving ” in the one charge but the trial Judge particularly directed himself to the separation of the two offences in the passage of his judgment quoted above.
The main argument was directed to the fact that the witness Lawani Dawodu was an accomplice and reliance was placed on the case of R. v. George 4 N.L.R. 5 : Corroboration, it is therefore contended, was necessary and there was in fact none in this case. The decision in this much quoted case cannot however be extended to a case in which there was no approach made by the alleged accomplice and the judgment therein carefully distinguishes the ” receiving of the money.” In the present case the accused was found guilty of ” asking ” and the offence was in fact completed before the payment of the £2. But even assuming that the payment of the money would normally have brought the witness within the category of accomplices one must go further and observe that the witnessNas acting in the capacity of a spy and that his act extended, in the words of Professor Kenny, to the actus reus and not the mens yea. There are the cases of R. v. Mullins, R. v. Bickky and the 1910 case of R. v. Heuser 6 C.A.R. 76 quoted by Crown Counsel, to support this.
As regards the other grounds of appeal the learned trial Judge fully considered the question of a conspiracy and also dealt with all other points raised in the defence such as that the delays were due to the absence of the defendants : he in fact says ” it is quite clear that his intentions were corrupt and that this was intended by him to be a ” greasing of his hand ” before he should give judgment in the case of Green against a number of other persons.”
The attention of this Court was drawn to the cases R. v. Richards 4 C.A.R. 161 where the defence was not properly put to the jury, to R. v. Dinnick 3 C.A.R. 77 holding that a defence however weak must be put before the jury and finally to R. v. Wolff 10 C.A.R. 107. With regard to misdirection and to omission to direct himself we find that there is nothing in the way of either in the Judge’s reasons for his finding which were fully set out, on which a reasonable ground of complaint can be founded, and we are satisfied that he sufficiently directed himself to all the points raised by the defence.
This appeal must accordingly he dismissed.