R v Oreddy (CO 24/2014) [2016] SCSC 220 (01 April 2016);

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF SEYCHELLES

Criminal Side:  24/2014

[2016] SCSC 220    

 

THE REPUBLIC

versus

ROBIN PAUL OREDDY

 

 

Heard:                         4th & 8th March 2016

Counsel:                      Mr. Georges Tachet, Assistant Principal State Counsel for the Republic

                                   Mr. Nichol Gabriel for the   accused                                   

Delivered:                   1st April 2016

 

 

RULING
Burhan J

 

  1. This is a ruling in respect of a voire dire held regarding the admissibility of the statement of the accused recorded by the police. Learned counsel for the accused objected to the production of the said statement as an exhibit, on the grounds that the statement was not admissible as it was not a voluntary statement given by the accused.
  2. The main grounds urged by learned counsel were that the accused had not voluntarily given his statement as he had been induced into giving his statement. It is trite law that the burden is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the said statement had been given voluntarily.
  3. The prosecution in order to establish that the statement was taken voluntarily, called ASP Jean Baptiste the officer who had recorded the statement of the accused and WPC Gerardine Carolla, the officer who had witnessed the taking of the said statement.
  4. ASP Jean Baptiste stated that he had recorded the statement of the accused on the 1st of March 2014. Prior to recording the statement, he had explained to the accused his constitutional rights and cautioned him of his right to remain silent and asked the accused whether he was willing to give a statement and the accused had voluntarily agreed to do so. He stated he had commenced recording the statement at 10.12 a.m. and ended at 10.40 a.m. .
  5. Under cross examination ASP Jean Baptiste admitted that the accident according to reports had occurred on the 1st of March 2014 at 03.05 hrs. He also admitted that the breathalyser test showed the accused had a reading of 66 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. He further stated that he had attempted to contact the lawyer of the accused but had been unable to do so. He reiterated the fact that the accused had volunteered to give a statement and he had taken the precautions of explaining the constitutional rights to the accused and advising him of his right to remain silent. He denied any threat promise or inducement being made to the accused.
  6. He further stated at the time the statement was taken, the accused was in a right state of mind and was willing to give a statement. He further stated that the accused had not thereafter made any complaint in regard to the taking of his statement and after the recording of the statement, the accused had stated the statement is correct and willingly signed the statement, after it had been read over and explained to him.
  7. Thereafter the prosecution called WPC Gerardine Carolla who corroborated the evidence of ASP Jean Baptiste in regard to the constitutional rights being explained to the accused, the caution being administered and the accused signing the statement after it was read over and explained to him. She stated his demeanour was calm and he was acting normal. She stated he had wanted to smoke and they had allowed it after the statement was recorded. She denied she had hit the table. Thereafter the prosecution closed its evidence.
  8. The accused made an unsworn statement from the dock stating that he was not in a right state of mind and that he was crying, and his niece had come with the secretary of the lawyer and wanted time to get a lawyer but yet the statement was recorded. He stated in his own words “it was sort of like a pressure they were putting on me and like I have said I was not in the right state of mind.
  9. Having considered the evidence before court, I observe that the accused despite having the assistance of an Attorney at Law has not made a contemporaneous complaint to the higher authorities concerning the recording of his statement, in that he had been induced or forced into giving the statement or that he was not granted access to his lawyer or even that he was not in his proper senses at the time the statement was recorded.
  10. I also observe that even though an opportunity was given, the accused did not call his niece or the secretary of the lawyer to support his unsworn statement. I also note the main objection of learned counsel for the accused, is that the accused was induced into giving the said statement but no particular type or form of inducement has been even suggested to any of the witnesses.
  11. Both police officers called by the prosecution categorically stated that there was no threat, promise or inducement made on the accused either before during or after the recording of the said statement and that the accused had given his statement voluntarily. Although both officers were subject to cross examination, no material contradictions arose in respect of the evidence given by these two officers.
  12. As no contemporaneous complaint has been made by the accused against these two officers in respect of the recording of the said statement and as no material contradictions are observed in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses which has been tested by cross examination unlike that of the unsworn statement of the accused, I proceed to accept the evidence of the prosecution.
  13. I am satisfied on considering the sworn testimony of both officers, that the even though it is alleged that the accused was under the influence of liquor at the time of the accident, at the time of the recording of his statement which was several hours later, he had sufficient knowledge of the fact the police officers intended recording a statement from him and he had voluntarily consented to give one.
  14.  I am satisfied therefore that the accused though admittedly had been subject to a breathalyser test several hours earlier, at the time the statement was recorded, had the capacity both mentally and physically to know what he was doing and stating, and had done so voluntarily and in the absence of any inducement, promise, threat  or oppression.
  15. I therefore hold that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the statement of the accused had been given voluntarily and therefore the statement is admissible as evidence in the case.

 

 

Signed, dated and delivered at Ile du Port on 1st April 2016

 

M Burhan

Judge of the Supreme Court