KOFORIDUA - A.D 2016
THE REPUBLIC - (Respondent)




The brief facts of this case are as follows: On 18th June 2012, the appellant and three accomplices trailed their four victims in a taxi-cab from Osu to the victims residence at Teshie Malik. When the victims – three Italians and a Ghanaian arrived at the entrance of their home, they were attacked at gunpoint and beaten. Paula Badalas the wife of Donnini Lorenzo one of the Italian, was fatally wounded by gunshot and died in hospital the following day. The robbers made away with a bag containing travelling documents, phones, i-pad and cash. Unfortunately for them, one of the robbers left his phone at the scene and this led to their arrest.


The accused persons were charged at the Circuit Court with Conspiracy to rob and robbery. Fuseini Mumuni Gariba @ Burger and Awudu Mumuni @ Baba Ayittey both pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to 40 years IHL. The appellant herein however pleaded ‘not guilty’ and was tried at the High Court, Accra.


The appellant was charged with Conspiracy to rob contrary to sections 23(1) and 149 of the Criminal Code 1960, Act 29 and three counts with Robbery contrary to section 149 of Act 29. The trial court found him guilty after a full trial and imposed sentence on him on 22nd December 2014.


The appellants petition of appeal filed on 7th July 2016 pursuant to leave granted on 27th April 2016 has the following grounds of appeal:


That the sentence was too harsh and excessive.


Mitigation of sentence.


In the written submissions filed on behalf of the appellant by counsel, counsel prays this court “to mitigate the sentence of 35 years the trial court handed him after he was duly convicted.”


I have read the judgment that is numbered pages 1 to 30 in the record of appeal, and I cannot find ‘35 years’ mentioned anywhere in it. At page 30 of the judgment, this is what the learned trial judge clearly stated:

-       “On the first count the accused is sentenced to fifteen (15) years imprisonment with hard labour

-       On the second count the accused is sentenced to twenty-five (25) years imprisonment with hard labour

-       On the third count the accused is sentenced to twenty-five (25) years imprisonment with hard labour

-       On the fourth count the accused is sentenced to twenty-five (25) years imprisonment with hard labour

-       The sentences on each of the counts was to run concurrently, not cumulative.”


I would have concluded that the 35 years quoted by counsel was a typographical error, but further at page 3 of his submissions, he states not once but twice that the appellant was sentenced to ‘40’ years IHL. It is obvious that these are not clerical errors. I will cite another example from counsel’s 4-page submission to drive home my point. At the third page of his submissions counsel states:


“the sole ground for appeal is premised in paragraph 5 of the appellants affidavit in support of his application for Extension of time to appeal”.


So what does paragraph 5 of the said affidavit on which the appeal is said to be premised say?


“5. That I humbly pray this Honourable court to grant me leave of Extension of time to appeal for mitigation of sentence.”


Lawyers must heed advice and be more careful in preparing their briefs rather than sloppy and careless mistakes that could actually harm their client’s case.


Sentences are concurrent when two or more sentences of imprisonment are to be served simultaneously. For example, as in this present case, if a convict receives concurrent sentences of 15 years and 25 years, the total amount to serve in custody is 25 years.


Counsel prays that this court averts its mind to two things. First, that the appellant did not personally subject the victims to unbridled use of force. Secondly, that the appellant very much regrets his actions which he attributes to peer pressure, immaturity and flawed up-bringing.


The offence of robbery is a first-degree felony with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A convict is liable to imprisonment for a minimum term of ten years, or a minimum term of fifteen years if the offence was committed with the use of an offensive weapon. See: Section 149 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960, Criminal Offences Act, 1960 Act 29 and section 296 (1) of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act 1960, Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 Act 30.


Several Supreme Court cases have extensively discussed the factors that a court is entitled to consider in determining the length of sentence. They include the intrinsic seriousness of the offence, the degree of revulsion felt by law abiding citizens of the society for the particular crime, the premeditation with which the criminal plan was executed and the prevalence of the crime within the particular locality where the offence took place, or in the country generally. The sudden increase in the incidents of the particular crime and mitigating or aggravating circumstances such as extreme youth, good character and the violent manner in which the offence was committed may also be considered in passing sentence. A punitive or a deterrent or exemplary sentence may be imposed so as to indicate the disapproval of society of that offence where the court finds an offence to be grave.


See: Frimpong alias Iboman vs. Republic [2012]  SCGLR 297


The Republic vs. Adu-Boahen, [1972] GLR 70-78


Kwashie vs. The Republic [1971] 1 GLR 488


There is no doubt from the evidence on record that the conviction of the appellant for conspiracy and robbery was appropriate. It is therefore not surprising that he is not appealing conviction. His main ground of appeal in mitigation is that he did not personally subject the victims to beatings. He wants credit for this. The law however is  that each person who agrees to act together with other persons in committing or abetting a criminal offence is equally guilty. See: Section 23 (1) of Criminal Offences Act, 1960 Act 29




In Hodgson vs The Republic [2009] SCGLR 642, the Supreme Court held that where the charge of conspiracy was proved, then the appellant became equally blameable for any act of any of the conspirators. The court stated per curiam as follows:


“The moment the appellant agreed to construct the secret compartment, he joined in the execution of a conspiracy which had been previously planned and would be equally as guilty as the planner even if he did not take part in the formulation of the plan or did not know when or who originated the conspiracy.”


In this present case, the appellant and his co-conspirators planned and carried out the attack on the victims. He admitted procuring the taxi that was used in the robbery. He knew the intentions of his co-conspirators. Force was used to overcome the resistance of the victims. Their expedition ended in the death of an innocent woman. His hand may not have pulled the trigger but he is as blameable as all the other co-conspirators are. The appellant may be remorseful now but that in itself is not sufficient ground to reduce a sentence.


The learned trial judge thoroughly reviewed the evidence and stated his reasons for imposing those terms of imprisonment. He took into consideration the “canker of armed robbery” in our nation, and such factors as whether the sentence should be reformative, retributive or deterrent, the appellants plea in mitigation, and the constitutional requirement to take into consideration the period the appellant had spent in lawful custody in respect of the offence before the completion of his trial. We find his reasoning sound.


Under section 30(a) (ii) of the Courts Act 1998, Act 459, an appellate court may in appropriate cases reduce or increase a sentence on appeal. However, there are settled principles on which the appellate court can so act. One such basic principle is that an appellate court will not interfere with a sentence of a lower court unless the sentence was manifestly excessive having regard to the circumstances of the case, or that the sentence was wrong in principle. See: Apaloo & others vs. The Republic [1975] 1GLR 156


Having re-evaluated the entire proceedings in this present appeal,


we are satisfied that the sentence of 15 years for conspiracy and 25 years for each count of robbery to run concurrently was reasonable and commensurate with the offences charged. We do not find any mitigating circumstances justifying a sentence lower than that which the trial court imposed.


We accordingly dismiss the appeal.