Petro Sule & 3 Others vs The Republic, Criminal Appeal No 475 of 2020.

The main issue of this case is about procedures for taking caution statement under section 58 of Crimina Procedure Act.

A court has this to say:

section 58 of the CPA provides for the rights of a person who is under restraint but knows how to read and write and wishes to personally write the statement. Under these circumstances, it is incumbent upon the police officer interviewing a person who is under restraint to first ascertain from him whether or not he knows how to read and write and wishes to write the statement himself before invoking any of the above provisions. Unfortunately, this was not done as there are no such words in the certificate in the instant case as a result of which the police officers recorded the statements without observing their obligations and the appellants’ rights. Since, all these provisions are imperatively couched, their violations are fatal and vitiated the statements.

 In an akin situation, in the case of Christina Damiano vs Republic, Criminal Appeal No. 178 of 2012 (unreported) cited in Juma Omary vsRepublic, Criminal Appeal No. 568 of 2020 (unreported), the Court held that non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of section 57 vitiates the cautioned statement hence subject to being expunged. [See also Mereji Logon vs Republic, Criminal Appeal No.273 of 2011 (unreported).

In line with our earlier decisions, we have no other options but expunge all the appellants’ cautioned statements as we hereby do.

Having expunged all the cautioned statements, there remains no other evidence 

upon which the appellants’ convictions could be grounded. That said, the need to consider other issues becomes superfluous and we refrain from considering them.

All said and done, we allow the appeal, quash the convictions and set aside the sentences and we order all the appellants be set free unless there are other lawful causes holding them in prison.