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THE STATE v. LOBI


  • appeal
  • 1961-11-24
  • SUPREME COURT
  • GLR 696-697
  • Print

VAN LARE, SARKODEE-ADOO AND ADUMUA-BOSSMAN, JJ.S.C.


Summary

Criminal law?-Murder?-Defence of insanity?-Insane delusion?-Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29) s. 27.

Headnotes

The appellant was convicted of the murder of one Ama Yeboah. According to the prosecution he made an unprovoked and savage attack upon the deceased, and also, unseen by anybody, upon her children and another woman. The appellant admitted to killing some people. He alleged that he did so because his brothers or companions had been killed.He appealed against conviction on the sole ground that the finding of the jury that he was sane at the time of the commission of the act was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence.

Judgement

APPEAL against conviction for murder before Crabbe, J. sitting with a jury at the High Court, Sunyani, on the 24th March, 1961.

JUDGMENT OF ADUMUA-BOSSMAN J.S.C.

Adumua-Bossman, J.S.C. delivered the judgment of the court. [His lordship narrated the facts and continued:] After what can be described as the most favourable summing-up in favour of the appellant, in the course of which the learned judge said, inter alia, that: "For instance, you have to consider whether a sane person in the circumstances would run amuck and butcher so many defenceless women and children; if you think not, then your verdict should be guilty, but insane", the jury rejected the appellant's defence of insanity or insane delusion; and it is their finding that the appellant was sane at the time of commission of the act which is now challenged as being unreasonable and incapable of support having regard to the evidence.

After the most anxious and careful examination and consideration of all the evidence, however, we are of the opinion that the jury had good and sufficient justification for coming to the conclusion which they did. [p.697]

In this respect, on the appellant's own statement to the police and his explanation to the court, he cannot be said not to have known the nature or quality of the acts, at the time he was doing them, for it is clear, as he himself explained, that he knew he was destroying human life because his brothers or companions were either reported or supposed to have been killed. But most important and significant perhaps is the circumstance deposed to by Kwasi Nyamekye, third prosecution witness, that he conversed quite rationally with the appellant in the bush and that the appellant was rational enough, when he (Nyamekye) threatened to shoot him down if he did not throw down his cutlass and surrender.

Having regard to the requirements of section 27 of the Criminal Code, 1960,1 which is identical in terms with section 52 of the former Criminal Code, Cap. 92 providing that a person accused of murder may be entitled to the special verdict of guilty but insane only:

?"(a) if he was prevented, by reason of . . . any mental derangement or disease affecting the mind, from knowing the nature or consequences of the act in respect of which he is accused; or

(b) if he did the act in respect of which he is accused under the influence of an insane delusion of such a nature as to render him, in the opinion of the jury or of the court, an unfit subject for punishment?",

it does not seem that the appellant's case is brought within the requirements of the law. Looking at the matter in the light most favourable to him that he was under a delusion that his brothers had been killed, he would not be justified to kill by way of avenging their deaths, as it were. As pointed out by Granville Sharp, in Kwame Dagarti v. The State:3

"It has been decided in recent cases by this court that the delusion referred to in the section must be of such a nature that if the imagined facts were true, they would provide justification for the action taken as a result of the delusion".

See also Yini Sheega alias Awuni Frafra v. The State4 in which the delusion was that an individual had administered a noxious drug in a draught of pito to the appellant with the object of rendering him impotent and which had resulted in making the appellant impotent (according to him), as a result of which the appellant shot an arrow at the individual which unfortunately caught that individual?'s infant son and killed him. The court held: "the appellant was in no legal sense insane or suffering from any form of delusion that could operate as an excuse for the killing."

Even so we are satisfied that in this case the appellant "was in no legal sense insane or suffering from any form of delusion that could operate as an excuse for the killing", and we are unable to sustain or uphold the contention on behalf of the appellant that the verdict of the jury is unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence. In the result we are obliged to dismiss the appeal.

Decision

<P>Appeal dismissed.</P>

Plaintiff / Appellant

T. E. Kwaku

Defendant / Respondent

K. Dua Sakyi, with him Sarkodee

Referals

(1)  Dagarti v. The State, Supreme Court, October 21, 1960 (unreported).

(2)  Sheega alias Frafra v. The State, Supreme Court, October 21, 1960 (unreported).

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