Court name
Supreme Court
Case number
CR APP 4 of 1950

Commissioner of Police v Bittar (CR APP 4 of 1950) [1950] SLSC 18 (13 April 1950);

Law report citations
1950-1956 ALR SL 33
Media neutral citation
[1950] SLSC 18
Case summary:

Constitutional Law-Governor-Deputy Governor-powers must be specified and limited under Letters Patent-authority to exercise all powers vested in Governor sufficient limitation-appeal dismissed.

Coram
Smith, CJ

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE v. BITTAR

Supreme Court (Smith, C.J.): April 13th, 1950
(Cr. App. No. 4/50)

5

[1] Constitutional Law—Governor—Deputy Governor—powers must be specified and limited under Letters Patent—authority to exercise all powers vested in Governor sufficient limitation: While art. XIX of the Letters Patent of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief requires that the Governor’s Deputy shall only exercise such powers and authorities as are specified and limited by the instrument of                                                                                                     10

appointment, there is nothing to prevent the instrument authorising the Governor’s Deputy in wide terms to exercise all powers and authorities vested in the Governor himself (page 34, lines 12-18).

The appellant was charged in a police magistrate’s court with an offence under the Immigration Restriction Ordinance (cap. 106).

He was convicted and appealed to the Supreme Court. On appeal, the sole question to be decided was whether the instrument which appointed the Deputy Governor conferred powers which were so wide and general that they did not comply with the requirements of art. XIX of the Letters Patent of the Governor and Commander- ^0 in-Chief.

Legislation construed:

Letters Patent of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief (Laws of Sierra Leone, 1946, vol. IV), art. XIX:

“Whenever and so often as the Governor is temporarily absent

. . . [he] may by an instrument under the Public Seal of the Colony appoint any person or persons to be his Deputy or Deputies within any part or parts of the Colony during such absence, and in that capacity to exercise, perform, and execute for and on behalf of the 30 Governor during such absence, but no longer, all such powers and authorities by these Our Letters Patent or otherwise vested in the Governor as shall in and by such instrument be specified and limited, but no others.”

R.B. Marke and R.W. Beoku-Betts for the appellant;                                                                                                             $5

Benka-Coker, Ag. Sol-Gen., for the respondent.

SMITH, C.J.:

This is an appeal against a conviction under the Immigration Restriction Ordinance (cap. 106). Five grounds of appeal were                                                                                                             40

originally filed and a sixth ground was subsequently added. Learned

counsel took the first two grounds together and they were the only ones that were seriously argued.

As a result of the arguments put forward, and in view of the wording of art. XIX of the Letters Patent of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief the court, in exercise of its powers under the Appeals from Magistrates Ordinance (cap. 14), s.17, decided to call further evidence and the instrument dated February 3rd, 1949 appointing Mr. Stoddart as the Governor’s Deputy was produced. That document, as far as it is material to this case, reads: “[A]nd in that capacity to exercise, perform and execute ... all powers and authorities . . . vested in the Governor.”

This evidence forced learned counsel to adopt the somewhat attractive, but to my mind quite fallacious, argument that the powers conferred by the instrument were so wide and general that they did not comply with art. XIX of the Letters Patent, which requires that the powers and authorities to be exercised by the Governor’s Deputy shall be such “as shall in and by such instrument be specified and limited, but no others.” In my opinion all the grounds of appeal fail and the appeal must stand dismissed.

Appeal dismissed.