2 An event which a reasonable man in the shoes of the accused would not have

2 an event which a reasonable man in the shoes of the

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2. An event which a reasonable man in the shoes of the accused would not have foreseen as likely or probable, will qualify as accident. This accords with the reasonable foreseeability theory formulated in the Wagon Mond (1961) AC 388. See V Alance v. R. (1961- 62) 35 ALJR 182 while interpreting s. 13 (1) of the Tasmanian Code which is similar to ours. 24 Criminal Code The Australian Court (Per Dixon C. J.) said that event occurring by chance cover “event which the person who might otherwise be criminally responsible neither intended nor foresaw as possible results of his conduct. They must, too, be fortuitous in the sense that no one would reasonably expect them to occur as a consequence of that conduct.” This appears to be the test most favoured by Nigerian Courts. E.g. the Supreme Court per Oputa J.S.C said in Adelumola v. State (1986) 3 SCNJ page 71 that “an event is thus accidental if it is neither subjectively intended nor objectively foreseeable by the ordinary man of reasonable prudence.” Recently in Amayo v. The State (2001) 12 S. C. (Pt. 1 Page 1 at 8 Uwaifo, J.S.C said “an accident is some sudden or unexpected event taking place, upon the instant, without one’s foresight and which produces a result not foreseeable.” 3. An event which the accused himself could not have reasonably foreseen as likely or probable. This is a rather subjective test which is unlikely to gain recognition of the courts. For a long time, Nigerian Courts merely applied s. 24 Criminal Code in a few cases without proper discussion. See e.g. Iromantu v. The State (1964) 1 All NLR 311; The State v. Appoh (1970) 2 All NLR 218 . Okonkwo and Naish posited that the decisions in R. v. Nameri (1951) 16
20 NLR 6 and R. v. MTAH (1961) All NLR 590 would have been different if s. 24 had been applied. However, there seems to be a changing attitude by the Nigerian Court e.g. See Amayo v. The State (2001) 12 S. C. (supra) where the Supreme Court carried out a detailed examination of s. 24 Criminal Code Mistake of Fact As earlier stated, if the accused is not aware of the facts bringing his act within the offence, he is not responsible for the offence. See sections 25 Criminal Code , 45 P. Code. See also Ogbu v. R. (1959) NRNLK 22 at 24 - 25; R. v. Gould (1962) 2 QB 207 . Note that most times, for the defence of mistake to avail, the mistake must be both honest and reasonable. See: (1) Gadam v. R. (1954) 14 WACA 442 (2) Ifereonwe v. R. (Unreported) Section 45 Penal Code provides, “Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is justified by law or who by a reason of a mistake of fact and not by reason of a mistake of law, in good faith believes himself to be justified by law in doing it.” Thus, unless knowledge of the law is expressly stated to be an element of the offence, a mistake of law cannot avail an accused under both sections 25 Criminal Code and 45 P.C.

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