⦿ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Lord Samuel Akhidime v. The State (1984) – SC
Lord Samuel Akhidime
⦿ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
* FOR THE APPELLANT
– F. O. Akinrele.
* FOR THE RESPONDENT
– D. E. Hayble D.S.G. Bendel State.
⦿ FACT (as relating to the issues)
The appellant in this case was charged with the murder of his own brother, by inflicting matchet cuts on him. The evidence shows that the offence was committed in the morning hours. The learned Judge who tried the case (Amissah J.) went carefully through the defences raised by the appellant, both real and imaginary, and arrived at the conclusion that the charge as laid had been proved. The appellant sought to disown responsibility for the offence by alleging that he had acted while he was either dreaming or in a state of unconsciousness and that in consequence thereof, he had no control over what had occurred.
Whether the appellant acted while under insane delusion or under a dream state?
⦿ HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI
HELD IN RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
i. As against the above, the learned Judge took cognisance of the distance between the abode of the appellant and the scene of the attack, coupled with the time of the day when the attack took place and decided, rightly in my view, that the appellant was merely trying to deceive the court. Learned counsel appearing before us stated that they had nothing to urge in favour of this appellant. This view, having regard to the state of the record, is well founded.
S. 28 Criminal Code;
⦿ SOME PROVISIONS
⦿ RELEVANT CASES
⦿ NOTABLE DICTA
The criminal liability of a person acting under delusion is the same as if the scene was real and I agree with the Court of Appeal that it is not a reasonable reaction for a brother to kill his brother who asked him to leave his house. – Obaseki, JSC. Akhidime v. State (1984)
Where an accused acted in a dream state it is difficult to bring such action within section 24 of the Criminal Code, which requires acts to import criminal responsibility to be voluntary. In effect the appellant’s defence if properly considered, and where evidence for such consideration is available, will suggest that neither was the conduct of the appellant voluntary, as to the killing of the deceased, nor was his act intentional. – Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Akhidime v. State (1984)
Where the facts make it more probable that appellant was at the relevant time acting in a dream state, and therefore not responsible for his actions, then he will be entitled to an acquittal. – Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Akhidime v. State (1984)
The appellant and the deceased were brothers. Why should the appellant kill the deceased. What is the motive? I agree that the absence of motive standing by itself alone is not sufficient to infer insanity or insane delusion; but if coupled with other evidence indicative of mental imbalance, it may be decisive in favour of the inference that the appellant was either insane or suffered from insane delusion. The appellant after using his cutlass on one of those he imagined attacked him, did not attempt to hide the cutlass. He left it on his bed and ran to the police station to report the alleged attack on him and the fact that he cut one of his attackers with his cutlass. Normal people do not behave like that. The vital question now is: From the evidence of the appellant and his statement exhibit A, can a fair minded jury conclude that appellant suffered from delusions? If the answer is in the affirmative or at least that there is a probability that he was deluded then the defence has discharged the onus on it. – Oputa, JSC. Akhidime v. State (1984)
In this case the evidence of all the prosecution witnesses related to the issue of insanity. The trial court rightly believed them, and found, rightly too, that the appellant was not insane. He was sane. Now the issue of delusion was never put to any of the prosecution witnesses. The end result is that, that issue (however raised either directly or indirectly and circumstantially) stood uncontradicted. There was thus no room for and no materials on which the trial court could exercise its discretion to believe or disbelieve. It was bound to believe unless the evidence of delusion was so obviously and so patently improbable that no fair minded jury could have believed it. This happens not to be the case in this appeal. – Oputa, JSC. Akhidime v. State (1984)