Court name
High Court
Case number
44 of 1970

Commissioner of Police V Olusegun Adenegan Emmanuel Ojuolape Samuel Eso (44 of 1970) [1971] NGHC 4 (19 January 1971);

Law report citations
Media neutral citation
[1971] NGHC 4
Coram
Taylor, CJ

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE (PROSECUTOR/APPELLANT)

v.

OLUSEGUN ADENEGAN EMMANUEL OJUOLAPE SAMUEL ESO (ACCUSED/RESPONDENTS)

(1971) All N.L.R. 378

 

Division: High Court of Lagos

Date of Judgment: 19th January, 1971

Case Number: APPEAL No. LD/44CA/1970

Before: Taylor C.J.

 

Appeal from the Magistrate's Court.

HELD:

(1)     A submission that there is no case to answer may properly be made and upheld:

(a)     When there has been no evidence to prove an essential element in the alleged offence.

In this case, Counsel for the appellant had satisfactorily drawn the attention of the court to the evidence to show that the ingredients of the offence were deposed to by the witnesses for the prosecution, and no where in the ruling of the court below was it held that any ingredient of the offence was not proven.

(b)     When the evidence adduced by the prosecution has been so discredited as a result of cross examination or is so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal could safely convict on it.

In this case, the trial Chief Magistrate said that the evidence before him in certain respect, not specifically mentioned, was contradictory; but the court could not say that that came within the above statement of the evidence being so discredited or so manifestly unreliable.

(2)     After a full consideration of this appeal the court was of the view that the ruling should be set aside and the case remitted to the court below to call on the defence to make a reply.

PER CURIAM:

There are three accused and three counts before the court. On the first count only 2 accused are charged i.e. 1st and 3rd and similarly on the 2nd count. On the third count only the 1st accused is charged. On a submission of no case or at the end of a trial the case in respect of each count has to be considered separately as also the case against each accused.

Appeal allowed: Ruling set aside: Case remitted to Court below for defence to make a reply.

Case referred to:

Ibeziako v. Commissioner of Police (1963) 1 ALL N.L.R. 61.

APPEAL from the Magistrate's Court.

APPEAL No. LD/44CA/1970.

Alao for the Appellant

Aka-Bashorun for the Respondents.

Taylor, C.J.:-Having heard both Counsel in this matter there can be no doubt that within the principle stated by the Supreme Court in Ibeziako v. Commissioner of Police 1963 1 All N.L.R. 61 at 69 that the submission of no case to answer should have been overruled by the court below. I state the two matters for consideration again for the benefit of the Learned Chief Magistrate:-

"A submission that there is no case to answer may properly be made and upheld:

(a)     When there has been no evidence to prove an essential element in the alleged offence."

In the case on appeal Mr Alao, learned Counsel for the appellant has satisfactorily drawn my attention to the evidence to show that the ingredients of the offence were deposed to by the witnesses for the prosecution; and no-where in the ruling of the court below was it held that any ingredient of the offences was not proven.

The second occasion on which a submission of no case can be successfully made is:

(b)     When the evidence adduced by the prosecution has been so discredited as a result of cross examination or is so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal could safely convict on it.

I have underlined the words "discredited" and "so manifestly unreliable" and "reasonable tribunal" as being the important governing words in the passage. In the case on appeal the Trial Chief Magistrate said that the evidence before him in certain respect, not specifically mentioned, was contradictory, but I cannot say that that comes within the above statement of the evidence being so discredited or so manifestly unreliable. A and B may give evidence for the prosecution. Their evidence may be contradictory and yet a Court may find that A is telling the truth and B is guilty of falsehood.

After full consideration of this appeal I am of the view that the ruling should be set aside and the case remitted to the court below to call on the defence to make a reply. If the defendants choose to give evidence then the case should be considered on its merits. If the defendants do not give evidence the court should re-assess the evidence before it and decide whether the offences are proven.

A final point to which I would like to draw the attention of the court below, which under normal circumstances should be unnecessary, is that there are three accused and three counts before the court. On the first Count only 2 accused are charged i.e., 1st and 3rd and similarly on the 2nd Count. On the third Count only the 1st accused is charged. On a submission of no case or at the end of a trial the case in respect of each count has to be considered separately as also the case against each accused.

The accused are to be taken into custody and returned to the Chief Magistrates Court for continuation of the trial.

The question of bail will be dealt with by that Court.

Appeal allowed: Ruling set aside: Case remitted to Court below for defence to make a reply.