FRANCIS YIRENKYI – APPELLANT
THE REPUBLIC – RESPONDENT
The correct definition of Conspiracy is as reformulated by the Statute Law Revision Commissioner and this definition shall remain valid until amended by Parliament or the Supreme Court
Supreme Court, 17th February, 2016 (Criminal Appeal: NO.J3/7/2015)
Coram: DOTSE, JSC. (PRESIDING), GBADEGBE, JSC., AKOTO-BAMFO (MRS) JSC., AKAMBA, JSC., PWAMANG, JSC.
The appellant was tried alongside 5 other persons by the Circuit Court, Tema, on 2 counts of conspiracy to commit crime, to wit, stealing, and was convicted and sentenced to a term of 10 years on each count to run concurrent. He appealed against the conviction and sentence to the High Court but same was dismissed. An appeal to the Court of Appeal was also dismissed. However, a further appeal to the Supreme Court was upheld, among others, on the ground that the decision was against the weight of evidence, a position which was taken by the State Attorney in the Court of Appeal for which reason the said court reprimanded her. In defence of the State Attorney’s conduct, the Supreme Court noted that “… the practice of lawyers making concessions in court when circumstances demand, should rather be encouraged when made in good faith, but not otherwise. Under the circumstances we consider the attack on learned Senior State Attorney by the Court of Appeal as unwarranted.”
In making the conclusion leading to the success of the appeal, the effect of the Revised Edition Act, 1998 (Act 562) on the definition of Conspiracy came into focus. Whereas the old formulation in Section 23(1) of Act 29 required two or more persons to agree or act together for a common purpose, the new formulation requires them to agree to act together for a common purpose. The Court held that “… the new formulation in section 23 (1) of Act 29 is the law on conspiracy in Ghana and until that formulation has been changed by constitutional amendment or recourse to the Supreme Court, the changes brought about by the work of the Statute Law Revision Commissioner are valid and remain the laws of Ghana.”