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22 Jan

CRIMINAL LITIGATION WEEK 3 (INTRODUCTION)

WEEK 3.

INTRODUCTION TO CRIMINAL LITIGATION.

:: INTRODUCTION / OVERVIEW / SCOPE OF CRIMINAL LITIGATION. Criminal Litigation encompasses from the moment a complaint is made, to arrest, arraignment, obtaining of evidence, constitutional safeguards, trial, judgment, appeal, prerogative of mercy.

:: COMPARISON OF THE RULES AND LAWS APPLICABLE IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF NIGERIA. PREFERABLY TABULAR.

:: SOURCES OF CRIMINAL LITIGATION.

Principal Enactments: CPA and CPCA (which have been domesticated into) CPL of Various Southern States, CPCL of various Northern States, ACJ (Repeal and Re-enactment) Law of Lagos 2011, ACJA 2015 (for FCT and Federal Crimes Enactments).

Secondary Enactments: include the CFRN 1999, Court Laws and Rules (Magistrate, HC, FHC, NIC, CofA, Scourt, etc.), practice directions, other statutes like; CYPL, PC, CC, AFD, etc.

– Case Law: maintained by precedence and hierarchy of courts.

English HC Rules: (only in the south) should be resorted to where there is a lacuna-S 363 CPA, Board of Customs and Excise v Hassan[1], Simidele v C.O.P[2], Ikomi v State[3]. HOWEVER; In North (Prohibited by S 35 HCLN), Abuja (S492 ACJA) and Lagos (262 ACJL) the court should resort to rule that would meet the justice of the case.

:: SITTINGS OF CRIMINAL COURTS: Court sits (9am till it rises (usually 4)) on all days but Sundays and public holidays which are non-juridical days. However it can sit on non-juridical days with consent of both prosecution and defenceOsosami v The COP. For magistrate, in Section 40 MCLL, Court is opened throughout the year except on Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays but at least one court in every Magisterial District shall be open on Saturdays to hear matters relating to remand, bail and other non-custodial disposition

:: SETTINGS OF THE COURT:

  • The Bench: elevated podium in front of the court room where judge sits.
  • The Bar: area between the registrar’s desk and the gallery where (well robbed) counsel sit.
  • Registrar’s Desk: directly beneath and backing the judge (bench).
  • Dock: enclosure where the accused/defendant stands during trial. He may go to the witness box to testify if he wants to be cross-examined.
  • Witness box: place between the bench and the bar where a person is placed to testify. Usually at the right hand side.
  • Gallery: where litigants and other spectators/attendees sit.
Court How Judges are Addressed
Customary and Area Your Honor.
Magistrates Your Worship. Lagos (Honour).
High Court My Lord
Court of Appeal My Lords
Supreme Court My Lords

 

 

 

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[1] On change of plea before sentence. Applied the English which requires leave of court.

[2] Procedure to apply for bail to High Court when application has been refused by Magistrate court. Applied English which requires summons. See also Abacha v The State.

[3] On application to High Court for leave to file an information. Using the indictment Procedure Rules of England 1971 to say that consent required. In the North Application for Leave to Prefer a Charge in the High Court Rules 1970 was enacted

Isochukwu

Quite eccentric really

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