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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The adjudication of homicide in colonial Ghana: the impact of the Knowles murder case
Author:Gocking, RogerISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History (ISSN 0021-8537)
Geographic term:Ghana
criminal procedure
legal reform
legal history
colonial period
Abstract:In keeping with the law in place in the Colony of Ashanti in 1928, Dr Benjamin Knowles was tried and convicted for the murder of his wife without the benefit of a jury trial or the assistance of legal counsel. His trial and sentencing to death created outrage in both colonial Ghana and the metropole, and placed a spotlight on the adjudication of capital crimes in the colony. Inevitably, there were calls for reform of a system that could condemn an English government official to death without the benefit of the right to trial by a jury of his peers and counsel of his choice. Shortly after the Knowles trial, the colonial government did open up Ashanti to lawyers, and introduced other changes in the administration of criminal justice, but continued to refuse the introduction of jury trial. Nevertheless, the lasting impact of the Knowles trial was to make criminal adjudication in Ashanti, if anything, more lenient than the other area of colonial Ghana, the Gold Coast Colony. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]