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COMMISSIONER OF POLICE v. DANQUAH


  • appeal
  • 1962-10-25
  • SUPREME COURT
  • 2 GLR 144-116
  • Print

KORSAH, C.J., ADUMUA-BOSSMAN AND MILLS-ODOI, JJ.S.C.


Summary

Criminal law and procedure?-Defrauding by false pretences?-Obtaining cash for post-dated cheque?-Cheque dishonoured?-False pretence that cheque would be honoured on presentation.

Headnotes

The appellant, who had no money in the bank, asked the complainant to cash a cheque for him and told the complainant that he could collect the money from the bank on the 22nd May, 1961, the date on the cheque. On presentation the cheque was dishonoured. The appellant was convicted of the offence of defrauding by false pretences contrary to section 131 of the Criminal Code, 1960. He appealed.

Judgement

APPEAL against a conviction for defrauding by false pretences contrary to section 131 of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29). The facts are fully set out in the judgment of the Supreme Court.

JUDGMENT OF KORSAH C.J.

Korsah C.J. delivered the judgment of the court. The evidence, which is not disputed, is that at about 12 noon on the 20th May, 1961, the appellant went to the shop of Michael Bou-Chedid, manager of B.B.C. Trading Co. Ltd. and asked him to cash a cheque for G10 saying that because the bank was closed, the amount could not be drawn by the appellant from his account at the bank. The cheque was dated the 22nd May, 1961, and the appellant told the complainant that he could cash the cheque on Monday, the 22nd May, 1961, the date on the cheque.

The complainant believing this representation, paid the sum of G10 to appellant and accepted the cheque; but when it was presented for payment at the bank on the 22nd May, 1961, it was dishonoured. The appellant was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted on the 30th August, 1961.

At the trial, a representative of the bank gave evidence in which he said the appellant had opened an account with the bank in July, 1959. He produced a certified copy of the appellant's statement of account with the bank, which showed that on the 20th May, 1961, when appellant issued the cheque in question, there was no credit in his account and that the last item to his credit on the 27th April, 1961, was one shilling and sixpence. The witness further stated that the appellant had not at any time been granted overdraft facilities. Up to the 30th August, 1961, when appellant was convicted, the sum of G10 which he had obtained from the complainant in exchange for the said cheque, had not been repaid.

In his defence, the appellant said he had not received a statement of account from the bank since January 1961; that he could not remember the bank paying money for him when he had no money in the bank; and that he drew the cheque for G10 and dated it the 22nd May, 1961, because he believed that he would have had money in the bank to meet it, as he expected a friend who was in Accra to pay money to his account on that date.

It is strange that, throughout the proceedings, the name of the friend was not mentioned nor was he called as witness. In these circumstances the court rightly held that when the cheque was drawn for the amount thereof to be paid on a certain date, there was a representation that it would be met on that date, either because there was money in the bank to honour it or because arrangements had been made for the necessary funds for the bank to pay the amount for which the cheque was drawn.

The evidence proves conclusively that the pretence made by the appellant was false to his knowledge, when he represented that he had money then in the bank, or, at least reason- able hope that there would be money available to the bank, to pay the amount called for by the cheque, on the occasion he obtained the G10 in exchange for what turned out to be a spurious cheque which was dishonoured on presentation.

[p.116]

The principle upon which this conviction can be supported was enunciated in R. v. Hazelton,1 where it was said that to obtain goods in exchange for a cheque, falsely pretending that the cheque will be honoured on presentation, is to obtain goods, not credit, by false pretences. In R. v. Parker,2 it was stated that:

?"Where the prisoner was charged with falsely pretending that a post-dated cheque, drawn by himself, was a good and genuine order for 25, and of the value of 25, whereby he obtained a watch and chain; and the jury found that, before the completion of the sale and delivery of the watch by the prosecutor to the prisoner, he represented to the prosecutor that he had an account with the bankers on whom the cheque was drawn, and that he had a right to draw the cheque, though he postponed the date for his own convenience, all of which was false; and that he represented that the cheque would be paid on or after the day of the date, but that he had no reasonable ground to believe that it would be paid, and that he had no funds to pay it; he was held to be properly convicted.?"

For these reasons we dismiss the appeal.

Decision

<P>Appeal dismissed.</P>

Plaintiff / Appellant

Danquah

Defendant / Respondent

A. N. E. Amissah, D.P.P.

Referals

(1)  R. v. Hazelton (1874) L.R. 2 C.C.R. 134; 13 Cox C.C. 1

(2) R. v. Parker (1837) 2 Mood. 1; 169 E.R. 1; 7 C. & P. 825

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