IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUDICATURE
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
CAPE COAST - A.D 2018
KOFI TWENEBOAH - (Appellant)
THE REPUBLIC - (Respondent)
DATE: 16 TH JANUARY, 2018
CIVIL APPEAL NO: H1/5/17
JUDGES: IRENE CHARITY LARBI MRS. J.A (PRESIDING), L. L. MENSAH (J.A), ANGELINA M. DOMAKYAAREH MRS. ( J.A)
WIAFE DANKWA ESQ. - (FOR THE APPELLANT)
VINCENT NYINAKU ESQ. SENIOR STATE ATTORNEY WITH HIM NANA AISHA
SALIFU ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY -(FOR THE RESPONDENT)
IRENE CHARITY LARBI (MRS) J.A.
(1) The 4th Accused/Convict/Appellant was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five (25) years IHL on charges of Conspiracy and Robbery to run concurrently by the High Court, Cape-Coast on 18th June, 2010.
The Appellant on 10th May, 2017 appealed against sentence pursuant to leave granted by this court. The ground of appeal reads as follows:
“a. That since the Appellant was a first time offender, the custodial sentence of twenty-five (25) years I.H.L imposed on him was rather harsh and excessive”.
(2) The brief facts of the case are that:-
On 26th January, 2007, one Kwabena Owusu, a sales representative and Illiasu Gibrim who is a driver and both employees of Yadsky Ghana Limited were aboard the company’s Nissan Pick-Up on sales rounds. As they moved towards Odoben through Brakwa, they saw that the road had been blocked for them to slow down. It was at this juncture that the accused persons fired a gun and the occupants in the vehicle were forced to get down. The accused persons demanded the sales they had made. They quickly pointed to where the money was and the accused persons picked the money. It turned out that when the gun was fired some of the pellets hit A1 (Kwamena Carter). Subsequently, they all fled the scene. A2 and A3 accompanied A1 to a herbalist for treatment. The Police had information and went there and arrested A2 and A3. A1 managed to escape but he, realising the nature of his injury went back to the police and handed himself over. A4 who had succeeded in running away was later arrested in a stealing case in Accra and was identified as one of the persons who run away on that day. There was a fifth accomplice, one Charles who is still on the run.
(3) In arguing the appeal, counsel for the Appellant strayed into areas not covered by the sole ground of appeal. For example, counsel argued that the Appellant in his testimony under cross-examination stated emphatically that he had never visited his home town for the past eight (8) years and was not part of the robbery. However, a critical look at the Appellant’s answers in cross-examination gave him away as he contradicted himself.
Whereas he stated that he had not been to his hometown for eight (8) years prior to the robbery, he admitted he had a room in his hometown where A1 who is his cousin occupies. He also admitted he has a wife at Agona Kwanyako whom he visits occasionally and any time he felt like doing so.
Again, under - cross-examination, the Appellant stated that Kwanyako to Brakwa is far than Tema to Kwanyako, but anyone who knows the area knows geographically that it is not so and I take judicial notice of this fact.
Significantly in his confession statement “Exhibit E” which was taken at the Regional C.I.D Office, Cape-Coast he gave a graphic account of how he and the other accused hatched the plot to rob the sales men in the cigarette van.
He mentioned A1, A2 and A3 by name and one Charles and the role each of them played. In his Caution Statement he stood by his confession statement made on 9th October, 2008. Although when he testified, he denied being in his hometown, in Exhibit ‘E’ he stated he was in his hometown and was there on the 23rd January 2008 and took part in the robbery. He eventually left for Tema on 29th January 2008 when he heard A2 and A3 had been arrested in the morning of that day by the Police.
(4) Now coming back to the sole ground of appeal, counsel quoted the ratio in KWASHIE VRS. THE REPUBLIC 1 GLR 488 at 496 in which case factors to be considered in determining sentence to be imposed on an accused person were discussed. The factors included:
(1) The intrinsic seriousness of the offence;
(2) The degree of revulsion felt by law-abiding citizens of the society or the particular crime;
(3) The premeditation with which the criminal plan was executed;
(4) The prevalence of the crime within particular locality where the offence took place, or in the country in general;
(5) The sudden increase in the incidence of the particular crime; and
(6)Mitigating or aggravating circumstances such as extreme youth, good character and the violent manner in which the offense was committed.
(5) Counsel argued that although the crime of stealing, no doubt has become a societal menace and those caught involved in it must no doubt be dealt with appropriately to show not only the extent of societal revulsion against the crime but also serve as a deterrent, the court must however consider young first time offenders and deal leniently with them. He submitted that young first time offenders should be given the opportunity to reform and come back to contribute their quota to the development of this country.
(6) Section 24(1) of Act 29/60 states the punishment for conspiracy as follows:-
“Where two or more persons are convicted of conspiracy for the commission or abetment of a criminal offence, each of them shall, where the offence is not committed, be punished as if each had abetted that criminal offence”.
(7) Robbery is stated in section 9(1) of Act 29/60 as amended by Act 646/2003 as follows:-
“Whoever commits robbery is guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on trial summarily or on indictment to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years and where the offence is committed by the use of an offensive weapon or offensive missile, the offender shall upon conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years”.
The punishment for the offences of Conspiracy and Robbery as charged and for which the Appellant was convicted are prescribed by law. According to the evidence lead at the trial against the Appellant, he was identified by PW1 Kwabena Owusu, one of the two persons on board the vehicle who were stopped by the Appellant and his accomplices. The Appellant was again identified in court as the one who was holding the gun which he fired when the victims were forced to stop at the road block that the Appellant and his accomplices had mounted. The Appellant was also the one who demanded where the money was and again took the amount of Gh₡2,000.00 from the victims that were robbed in the vehicle. The Appellant was not only a participant in the robbery but from the evidence he played the lead role in the robbery.
(8) The evidence led against the Appellant becomes more significant in considering the relief sought by the Appellant from this court for reduction of sentence on ground that he is a first time offender.
The Supreme Court when it had opportunity to consider the issue of an Appellant being a first time offender in the case of FRIMPONG alias IBOMAN VRS. THE REPUBLIC I SC GLR 297 at 332; his Lordship Dotse JSC expressed himself thus:-
“Thirdly, there is also no doubt that the Appellant and his gang of robbers actually planned and swiftly executed their robbery agenda successfully. As a matter of fact the ease with which the robbery was executed gives the impression that the gang must have been experts at the criminal conduct. The only snag was that, there was no criminal record on them as at that time”.
It was for lack of any previous criminal record against the appellant, in the case supra that the sentence of sixty-five (65) imposed on him by the Trial Court for the offences of conspiracy and Robbery was allowed by the Supreme Court on appeal and the sentence reduced to a term of thirty (30) years.
(9) In AMANIAMPONG VRS. THE REPUBLIC  GMJ page 105, Her Lordship Rose Owusu JSC in dismissing the appeal and upholding the sentence of (30) years stated at page
127 to 128 thus:
“Punishment is justifiable as a deterrent not only to the criminal himself, but also and even more importantly, to those who may have similar propensity. A way must be found to protect society from activities of those criminals and to me, this way is confinement for a considerable length of time. The Appellant if he is mindful of reforming must do so whiles in prison. I therefore under the circumstances do not consider the thirty (30) years including hard larbour imposed on the Appellant by the Court of Appeal harsh and excessive”.
In the case supra, the Appellant was convicted on charges of Conspiracy and Robbery and sentenced to seventy (70) years. On appeal to the court of appeal his conviction was upheld and the sentence was reduced to thirty (30) years. He again appealed to the Supreme Court but his appeal was dismissed.
(10) Now coming back to the case of KWASHIE VRS. THE REPUBLIC (supra) which was cited by counsel for the Appellant and the factors to be taken into consideration before sentencing, I find from the evidence that this is a robbery well-orchestrated and co-ordinated. It was planned and executed by the Appellant and his accomplices with expertise. Appellant and his accomplices targeted their victims in the vehicle because they knew they were carrying proceeds from the sale of cigarettes on their rounds. The robbery took place on a motorized road but the Appellant and his accomplices took upon themselves to block the road for which they had no authority to do so. They armed themselves with a leathal weapon to wit a gun and machete with intent to use force or threat to harm their victims should they resist-being robbed. The gun was in the hands of the Appellant who used it and fired it. He took over the money they robbed from their victims and was the “spending” culprit who controlled it.
(11) In his statement to the police, the Appellant admitted that whilst he was in hiding at Tema, he was arrested by the Tema Police for stealing. The fact that he was known to the Police was confirmed by PW4, the prosecutor. There is no evidence as to the age of the Appellant on the record to assist this court determine whether he was of extreme youth as at the time he committed the robbery. Even if he was, it is clear from the evidence that the Appellant is a threat to the society and needs to be kept away in confinement for some considerable length of time not only as a deterrent to others who may have the propensity to commit crimes but for reformative purposes.
(12) For these reasons, the twenty-five (25) years imprisonment is not excessive but justified and I find no cause to disturb same.
Accordingly, the appeal is hereby dismissed.