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  • appeal
  • 0000-00-00
  • GLR 316-318
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Criminal law?-Obtaining money by false pretences?-Defence of claim of right made in good faith. [p.317]


The appellant was originally absolute owner of certain property, but he lost all his right, title and interest therein when the property was sold by his mortgagee in exercise of his power of sale under the mortgage deed. The appellant further had given evidence in proceedings in the High Court as a result of which his mortgagee was ordered to convey the title to the property in question to one Ama Serwaa who had purchased it at a public auction.Sometime after these events, the appellant purported to sell the property in question, and obtained G5,258 5s from the complainant by falsely representing that he was still the rightful owner. On appeal against conviction for fraud by false pretences it was argued on the appellant?'s behalf that when he purported to transfer title in the said property to the claimant he acted under claim of right made in good faith.


APPEAL against conviction and sentence for obtaining money by false pretences by Acolatse, J. sitting with the aid of assessors in the High Court, Accra, on the 21st April, 1961.


(His lordship referred to the facts and continued:) The trial court properly in our view rightly rejected the alleged claim of right in good faith and it is clear to us upon a consideration of all the surrounding circumstances that the appellant could not have acted in good faith when he represented to the complainant that he was the absolute owner of the house. There is no doubt that the appellant knew that his title was superseded when the house was purchased by Ama Serwa at a public auction at the instance of the mortgagee, Bassil. He also knew that Bassil had been ordered by the High Court to convey title in the house to the purchaser Ama Serwa in defeat of any claim of title which he might put forward in respect of the property. Notwithstanding all this the appellant withheld such knowledge from the complainant during the negotiations for the sale of the house by him. We are of opinion that the withholding of such material facts from the complainant is evidence from which clear intent to defraud must be inferred. This, therefore, completely destroys the defence of a claim of right in good faith which is the main ground of appeal seriously argued before us.

The law as we understand it is that if a false statement or representation to the knowledge of the person making it, is made, and by this means money is obtained and the person who gives that money does so in reliance on the false statement or representation, then that would be sufficient to support a charge of obtaining money by false pretences. In the instant case we find the necessary ingredients present in that the appellant falsely represented that he was the rightful owner of the house at the time he purported to convey to the complainant from whom he obtained a [p.318] large sum of money, and as the complainant believing such false representations paid to the appellant such amount in the purported purchase of the house, the appellant thereby brought himself within the mischief contemplated by the charge preferred against him.

We find no substance in any of the other grounds of appeal and in the result we dismiss the appeal.


<P>Appeal dismissed.</P>

Plaintiff / Appellant

R.S. Blay

Defendant / Respondent

K. Dua Sakyi


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