Rex V. Use Etewo Ibe & Ors (1938)
LawGlobal Hub Judgment Report – West African Court of Appeal
Held: Appeals dismissed.convictions
There is no need to set out the facts.C High
C. N. S. Pollard for Crown. First Appellant not present. Other Appellants in person.
The following joint judgment was delivered
SINGDON, C.J., NIGERIA, CAREY. AND GRAHAM PAUL, JJ.
In this case originally twelve men were charged with the murder of one Ukenerem but when the trial opened before the Assistant Judge of the High Court at Ikot Ekpene no evidence was offered against five of them and they were acquitted and discharged. The trial proceeded against the other seven who then had the following numbers allotted to them : —
No. 1 accused—Use Etewo Ibe
|—Udo Aka Amawo
No. 3 accused was acquitted, the other six were all convicted and all sought leave to appeal to this Court. Only one ground of appeal is given and that in itself admits guilt.
” It is unjust that we only should be punished for a ” crime in which many others were involved beside ” ourselves. For that reason we ask the Court to ” pardon us.”
The case against the first accused, who had made a full confession before a European Police Officer, was so abundantly clear that leave to appeal was refused. All the other live
convicted men were granted leave to appeal. The only reason leave was granted to accused Nos. 2, 5 and 6 was that the Court wished to be satisfied that their confessions previously made before a Police Sergeant were properly received in evidence. The Court is fully satisfied upon this point and there is no substance in their appeals.
The appeals of the fourth and seventh accused present greater difficulty. They neither of them at any time confessed to participate in the crime and the only direct evidence against them is that of their co-accused.
The first accused gives evidence directly implicating both the fourth and seventh accused in the crime. This evidence if believed and corroborated is sufficient to justify the convictions of the fourth and seventh accused. It was believed by the trial Judge. The question then arises ” Was there sufficient corroboration ?” Upon this point the evidence that the seventh accused when arrested charged and cautioned said ” Yes ” must be disregarded, for the simple answer ” Yes ” might mean anything and cannot be construed as an admission. But the corroboration required is not corroboration of the details of the crime given by the first accused, but some independent testimony which affects the accused by tending to connect them with the crime. The conduct of the accused may afford the necessary corroboration (R. v. Mullins 3 Cox 526, 531; R. v. Baskerville 12 Cr. App. Rep. 81; R. v. Medoraft 23 Cr. App. Rep. 116).
This independent testimony is to be found in the evidence of the second and third witnesses for the prosecution. This is to the effect that shortly after the murder the fourth and seventh accused were showing the body at night to the relatives of the deceased and issuing warning threats and terrorising them to prevent information being given. This clearly tends to implicate the fourth and seventh accused in the crime and affords, in our opinion, sufficient corroboration of the direct evidence of the accomplice.
The appeals of all the appellants are dismissed.