MADU FATUMANI
V.
THE KING

(1950) JELR 61022 (WACA)    
West Africa Court of Appeal  ·  14 Apr 1950 ·  West Africa [For WACA cases]
 · 
Other Citations
[1956] VIII WACA 39
CORAM
BLACKALL, P. LEWEY, J.A. ADEMOLA, J.
Core Terms Beta
person
village head
chase
evidence
judges’ rules
mind
persons
present case
questions
sight
thief
answer
author of a crime
blackall
blue shirt
blue trousers
brother kentu
charge
confession
effect
evidence ordinance
eye
eye-witness
fellows
ground of appeal
hue
large number of people
law
murder of a man
objection
observation
people
point
points
police officer
police officers
principle
prisoner’s guilt
promise
proposition
question
reference
relation
remark of the village head
scene
section
statements
threat
useful information
words

BLACKALL, P.:-

The appellant was convicted of the murder of a man named Muhammadu. The evidence disclosed that while the deceased was asleep, a thief attempted to steal his gown. His brother Kentu, who was nearby, awoke and saw the thief wrestling with the deceased, and then running away. Kentu noticed that he was wearing blue trousers and a blue shirt; he ran after him and raised a hue and cry; a large number of people joined in the chase, and the evidence is that they kept the man in sight until they caught him. The man they caught was the appellant. Having tied him up they brought him to where the body was. The Village Head then arrived on the scene and asked who had killed the deceased. The people said the appellant had. The appellant denied this, and the Village Head then said to him that he should not trouble his fellows, and if he had done it he should say so.

It was submitted for the appellant that any statements made following that observation were inadmissible, as no caution had been given.

The law on this point is contained in section 28, et seq. of the Evidence Ordinance and is to the effect that a confession is inadmissible if it is induced by a threat or a promise in relation to the charge, made by a person in authority. But in the present case the remark of the Village Head was, in the opinion of this Court, merely a moral adjuration. Moreover, the Judges’ Rules allow that when a Police Officer is endeavouring to discover the author of a crime, there is no objection to his putting questions to any person, whether suspected or not, from whom he thinks useful information can be obtained; it is only when he has made up his mind to charge the person that a caution must be administered.

That proposition was laid down in the judges’ Rules with reference to Police Officers, but we conceive the same principle applies to questions put by any other person in authority investigating a crime. In the present case it is quite clear that when the Village Head spoke the words in question, he had not made up his mind as to the prisoner’s guilt, nor had the prisoner been charged. This ground of appeal, therefore, fails.

It was further argued that there was no evidence of identification. The answer to this is that Kentu, who was an eye-witness, kept his eye on the appellant until after the other persons had joined in the chase, and those persons did not lose sight of him; there was, therefore, abundant evidence of identification.

The other points raised do not call for any observations. The appeal is dismissed.

Appeal dismissed.