Charges, Under Criminal Procedure Criminal Code, Criminal Law
Proceedings may be instituted in court either by the making of a complaint or by bringing a person who has been arrested without a warrant before a magistrate. A complaint is made to the magistrate. It maybe in writing or an oral statement . Where it is viva voce, the complaint is reduced to writing, and in either case it is signed by both the magistrate and the complainant. A situation where a complaint is made orally to a magistrate may arise in a case where a private individual intends to file a private prosecution. Institution of Criminal Proceedings.
A Charge is a statement of offence or offences, which a person is accused of and the particulars thereof. A charge is a written statement of complaint brought against an accused person in a court of law. A Charge states concisely the offence which the accused person is alleged to have committed. Section 134 of the Criminal Procedure Code states- every charge or information shall contain, and shall be sufficient if it contains, a statement of the specific offence or offences with which the accused person is charged, together which such particulars as may be necessary for giving reasonable information as to the nature of the offence charged. Read together with section 135 too. A Charge Sheet.
A charge or complaint consists of two parts; 1. A statement of the offence- it particularly states the law and the sections of the law that have allegedly been breeched. The statement of offence, should offer a brief description of the offence in ordinary language avoiding as far as possible the use of technical terms. It is not necessary to put all the elements of the offence within the statement. 2. The particulars of the offence- it contains the date and place where the offence had been committed, the subject matter of the charge and the identity of the complainant and of the accused person. They should be simple and technical terms should be avoided as far as possible. Continuation.
Joinder refers to the action of Charging together. Joinder of Counts refers to the charging together of a number of offence
(1) Any offences, whether felonies or misdemeanors, may be charged together in the same charge or information if the offences charged are founded on the same facts, or form or are part of a series of offences of the same or a similar character.
(2) Where more than one offence is charged in a charge or information, a description of each offence so charged shall be set out in a separate paragraph of the charge or information called a count.
(3) Where, before trial, or at any stage of a trial, the court is of the opinion that a person accused may be embarrassed in his Defence by reason of being charged with more than one offence in the same charge or information, or that for any other reason it is desirable to direct that the person be tried separately for any one or more offences charged in a charge or information, the court may order a separate trial of any count or counts of that charge or information. Section 135 of C.P.CODE.
Courts expressed that where here is a single complex of offences connected in kind and time, it is undesirable, although not unlawful, for the accused to be arraigned on separate trials.
The appellant was convicted of one count for obtaining money by false pretenses, and on another of giving false information. The Court of Appeal held that it was doubtful whether the charge in respect to the false report could be said to have been founded on the same facts as the other charge and that it might, therefore, have been more properly made the subject matter of a separate trial. Republic v Gulamhussein Jetha.
The appellant was charged on 3 counts; wounding X with an intent to cause grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty. The first count contain no words to indicate that the alleged wounding with intent was in any way connected with the third count of attempting to resist the arrest. It is clear from the evidence that the 3 offences occurred in a series of attempts to resist arrest. This however was not clear from the charges. The C.O.A considered that the third count was wrongly included in the charge, hence a misjoinder. Joseph V Republic.
This refers to the joining or charging together of two or more accused persons within the same charge or information and trying them together within the same proceedings. As per section 136 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the following are persons that may be so joined. a) Person accused of an offence committed in the course of the same transaction; b) Persons accused of an offence and persons accused of abatement, or of an attempt t commit the said offence. c) Persons accused of two or more offences of the same kind committed jointly within a period of 12 months. d) Persons accused of different offences committed in the course of the same transaction.
It was held that two persons accused of raping two different women separately albeit at about the same time and place could not be tried at the same trial, the transaction not being the same. Republic V Hassan Saleh and another
The three appellants faced separate counts of stealing by servant in one charge sheet. The particulars stated that the offences were committed on separate dates. The items alleged to have been stolen were different. The y were not charged as having a common intention. They appealed against their convictions and sentences. It was held that a joint charge against several accused persons alleged to have committed separate offences on different dates amounts to misjoinder and such aa charge is defective. There should have been a separate charge for each person and separate count for each alleged offence committed on a different date. Malebe V Republic.