CRIMINAL LITIGATION WEEK 9 (CHARGES 2)
:: DRAFT A CHARGE IN THE VARIOUS COURTS IN NIGERIA. (Magistrate and State High Court North, Magistrate and State High Court South, FHC and NIC. Refer to the Drafts Version.
:: AMENDMENT OF CHARGES (PROCEDURE BEFORE AND AFTER). Charges can be amended at any time before judgment to edit content or correct error and prevent fatality-Clement Isong v The AG Federation. Leave of court is required if amendment is sought after trial.
The new charge continues the life of the old one and the amendment should not radically alter the existing charge or mislead or cause injustice to the accused. AG Fed v Clement Isong.
The amended charge should be read and explained to the accused person and he shall be asked to plead to the charge then whether he is ready to be tried on such charge-Youngman v The Police Section 216 ACJA, 163 CPA. Nigerian Air Force v James, Elumelu v Police. Court may proceed with trial or grant an adjournment where necessary (especially in capital offences). The prosecutor and accused shall be allowed to recall or re-summon witnesses to examine with reference to such amendment. Accused should be informed of these rights when not represented by counsel.
The Order for amendment (showing date of amendment) should be endorsed on charge-COP v Alao.
Non-compliance with post amendment procedure renders trial a nullity but where there is sufficient/overwhelming evidence against the accused, a re-trial may be ordered.