The Queen V. Umaru Bangaza And Anor (1960)
On the 15th January, we dismissed these appeals and we now state our reasons
The appellants were convicted in the High Court of the Northern Region of the murder of one Yaya Bangaza. There was clear evidence, which the Judge accepted, that they committed a deliberate assault on the deceased with heavy sticks, and with intent to do him grievous harm by way of retaliation for an assault committed by his children on their younger brother. On this finding of fact the conviction for murder were entirely justified.
The murder was committed in November 1950 and immediately after it the appellants ran away to somewhere in Bornu. They surrendered themselves early in 1959 and were tried in December 1959. In the course of his judgment Reed, J., considered the possibility that at the time of the murder they had been “boys” and came to the conclusion that they had at least reached the age of criminal responsibility, which on the evidence in this case would be twelve: see s.30 Criminal Code. There has been no appeal against this finding and we accept it as correct.
We think it right, however, to mention S.368 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance, under which the death sentence is not to be pronounced on or recorded against a person found guilty of a capital offence who has not attained the age of seventeen years. Under this section it is the age of the offender at the time of his conviction which is material, and it seems clear that the appellants cannot invoke the section, but the responsible authorities will no doubt give such weight as they think fit to the possibility that if the appellants had not run away, and had been brought to trial at once, the section would have applied.
The corresponding legislation in England and Scotland is to be found in S.9 (3) of the Homicide Act, 1957, and makes the age of the offender at the date of the offence the deciding factor. This, having regard to the variations in the time which it takes, even in the normal case, to bring a person to trial appears to us to be the fairer rule and we would suggest that consideration might be given to an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance.
Other Citation: (1960) LCN/0881(SC)