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COMMISSIONER OF POLICE v. DONKOR


  • appeal
  • 1961-11-24
  • SUPREME COURT
  • GLR 694-695
  • Print

VAN LARE, SARKODEE-ADOO AND CRABBE, JJ.S.C.


Summary

Criminal law?-Charge of stealing?-Whether accused should give early explanation to police?-Effect of silence.

Headnotes

Donkor lodged one night with his friend at Obuasi. His friend went out leaving Donkor in the room. On his return he found the room open and Donkor was absent. Noticing his bucket and bath towel were missing, he thought Donkor had gone to bath. Later, however, he noticed that a white gown and shirt were also missing so he went in search of Donkor and soon found him near a drinking bar. They returned together to the room where Donkor was questioned by his friend about the missing articles. Donkor denied taking anything from the room. The matter was reported to the police who arrested Donkor and interrogated him. Donkor refused to say anything either then or the next morning when he was formally charged and cautioned. At his trial he denied the charge explaining that he was too surprised and annoyed to say anything to the police. He also said that he had informed his friend, the complainant, that he would be leaving the room to buy some kenkey. Donkor was convicted and sentenced, the trial district magistrate being adversely impressed by his silence when arrested. The [p.695] conviction was confirmed in the circuit court. Donkor further appealed to the Supreme Court.

Judgement

APPEAL against conviction for stealing from a dwelling house before J. Kingsley-Nyinah, Esq, District Magistrate, at the District Magistrate?'s Court, Obuasi on the 23rd November, 1960, which was confirmed by the Circuit Court, Kumasi.

JUDGMENT OF VAN LARE J.S.C.

Van Lare, J.S.C. delivered the judgment of the court. [His lordship narrated the facts as set out in the headnote and continued:] It is in respect of these facts that the appellant was convicted. From his reasons, however, the trial district magistrate was satisfied that there was no direct evidence to connect the appellant with the offence charged, but he was of opinion that the facts and circumstances of the case gave rise to no doubts in his mind as to the guilt of the accused and he appeared to base this conclusion on the fact that although the appellant had opportunity to deny the charge be given as to whether the articles could have been stolen from the room during the time the appellant left the room for town. For these reasons we allow the appeal, quash the conviction, set aside the sentence and order an acquittal and discharge.

Decision

<P>Appeal allowed.</P> <P>Appellant acquitted and discharged.</P>

Plaintiff / Appellant

Appellant in person.

Defendant / Respondent

K. Dua Sakyi

Referals

R. v. Leckley [1944] K.B. 80

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