Section 300-318 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Section 300 to 318 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 is under PART 31 (PRESENTATION OF CASE BY PROSECUTION AND DEFENCE AND CONCLUSION OF TRIAL) of the Act.
Section 300 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Presentation of case for prosecution
(1) After a plea of not guilty has been taken or no plea has been made, the prosecutor may open the case against the defendant stating shortly by what evidence he expects to prove the guilt of the defendant.
(2) The prosecutor shall then examine the witnesses for the prosecution who may be cross-examined by the defendant or his legal practitioner and thereafter re-examined by the prosecutor, where necessary.
Section 301 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
After the case of the prosecution is concluded, the defendant or the legal practitioner representing him, if any, is entitled to address the court to present his case and to adduce evidence where so required.
Section 302 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
No case submission at the instance of the court
The court may, on its own motion or on application by the defendant, after hearing the evidence for the prosecution, where it considers that the evidence against the defendant or any of several defendants is not sufficient to justify the continuation of the trial, record a finding of not guilty in respect of the defendant without calling on him or them to enter his or their defence and the defendant shall accordingly be discharged and the court shall then call on the remaining defendant, if any, to enter his defence.
Section 303 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
No case submission by the defence and replies
(1) Where the defendant or his legal practitioner makes a no case submission in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the court shall call on the prosecutor to reply.
(2) The defendant or his legal practitioner has the right to reply to any new point of law raised by the prosecutor, after which, the court shall give its ruling.
(3) In considering the application of the defendant under section 303, the court shall in the exercise of its discretion, have regard to whether:
(a) an essential element of the offence has been proved;
(b) there is evidence linking the defendant with the commission of the offence with which he is charged;
(c) the evidence so far led is such that no reasonable court or tribunal would convict on it; and
(d) any other ground on which the court may find that a prima facie case has not been made out against the defendant for him to be called upon to answer.
(e) any other ground on which the court may find that a prima facie case has not been made out against the defendant for him to be called upon to answer.
Section 304 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Defence and prosecutor’s right of reply
(1) After the case for the prosecution is concluded the defendant or the legal practitioner representing him, if any, is entitled to address the court at the commencement or conclusion of his case, as he thinks fit, and if no witnesses have been called for the defence than the defendant himself or witnesses solely as to character of the defendant and no document is put in as evidence for the defence, the prosecution shall not be entitled to address the court a second time but if in opening the case for the defence, the legal practitioner appearing for the defendant introduced a new matter without supporting it by evidence the court, in its discretion may allow the prosecution to reply.
(2) Where any witness, other than the defendant himself or witnesses solely as to the defendant’s character, is called or any document is put in as evidence for the defence, the legal practitioner appearing for the defendant is entitled after evidence has been adduced to address the court a second time on the whole case and the prosecution shall have a right of reply.
(3) The provisions of this section shall not affect the right of reply by a law officer.
Section 305 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Reference to the Court of Appeal
(1) Where a question as to the interpretation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria arises in the course of a trial and is referred to the Court of Appeal under the provisions of the Constitution, the court before which the question arose may in its discretion:
(a) adjourn the trial until the question has been considered and decided;
(b) conclude the trial and postpone the verdict until such time as the question has been considered and decided: or
(c) conclude the trial and pass sentence but suspend execution until such time as the question has been considered and decided, and in any such case the court in its discretion shall commit the defendant or convict to prison or admit him to bail in accordance with the provisions in Part 19 of this Act.
(2) When the question referred to subsection (1)(a) of this section has been decided by the Court of Appeal the Court shall:
(a) continue the trial or discharge the defendant;
(b) acquit or convict the defendant; or
(c) order the execution of the sentence as the circumstance may require.
Section 306 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Stay of proceedings
An application for stay of proceedings in respect of a criminal matter before the Court shall not be entertained.
Section 307 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Consideration of case by court and announcement of finding
(1) When the case for both sides is closed, the court shall consider its verdict and for this purpose may retire or adjourn the trial.
(2) After the court has made its finding, the court shall pronounce that finding in the open court.
Section 308 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Judgment to be in writing
(1) The Judge or Magistrate shall record his judgment in writing and every judgment shall contain the point or points for determination, the decision and the reasons for the decision and shall be dated and signed by the Judge or Magistrate at the time of pronouncing it.
(2) The Magistrate, instead of writing the judgment, may record briefly in the book his decision or finding and his reason for the decision or finding, and then deliver an oral judgment.
Section 309 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Defendant to be discharged where found not guilty
Where the court finds the defendant not guilty, it shall immediately discharge him and record an order of discharge and acquittal accordingly.
Section 310 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Procedure on finding of guilty
(1) Where the finding is guilty, the convict shall, where he has not previously called any witnesses to character, be asked whether he wishes to call any witnesses and after the witnesses, if any, have been heard he shall be asked whether he desires to make any statement or produce any necessary evidence or information in mitigation of punishment in accordance with section 311 (3) of this Act.
(2) After the defendant has made his statement, if any, in mitigation of punishment the prosecution shall, unless such evidence has already been given, produce evidence of any previous conviction of the defendant.
Section 311 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Sentence and sentencing hearing
(1) Where the provisions of section 310 of this Act have been complied with, the Court may pass sentence on the convict or adjourn to consider and determine the sentence and shall then announce the sentence in open court.
(2) The Court shall, in pronouncing sentence, consider the following factors in addition to sections 239 and 240 of this Act.
(a) the objectives of sentencing, including the principles of reformation and deterrence;
(b) the interest of the victim, the convict and the community;
(c) appropriateness of non-custodial sentence or treatment in lieu of imprisonment;
(d) previous conviction of the convict.
(3) A court, after conviction, shall take all necessary aggravating and mitigating evidence or information in respect of each convict that may guide it in deciding the nature and extent of sentence to pass on the convict in each particular case, even though the convicts were charged and tried together.
Section 312 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Recommendation for mercy
The court may in any case in recording sentence make a recommendation for mercy and shall give the reasons for its recommendation.
Section 313 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Conviction on other charges pending
(1) Where a defendant is found guilty of an offence, the court may in passing sentence take into consideration any other charge then pending against him, where the defendant admits the other charge and desires that it be taken into consideration and if the prosecutor of the other charge consents.
(2) Where a desire is expressed under subsection (1) of this section and consent given the court shall:
(a) make an entry to that effect on the record book;
(b) the prosecution shall state the facts of the case in accordance with section 300 of this Act;
(3) Where the other charge pending against the defendant is considered in accordance with subsections (1) and (2) of this section and sentence passed on the defendant with consideration or in respect of the other pending charge, the defendant shall not, subject to the provisions of sections 236 to 237 of this Act, or unless the conviction has been set aside, be liable to be charged or tried in respect of any such offence so taken into consideration.
Section 314 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Compensation to victim in judgment
(1) Notwithstanding the limit of its civil or criminal jurisdiction, a court has power in delivering its judgment to award to a victim commensurate compensation by the defendant or any other person or the State.
(2) The Court in considering the award of compensation to the victim may call for additional evidence to enable it determine the quantum of compensation to award in subsection (1) of this section.
Section 315 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Delivery of judgment when Judge or Magistrate is unavoidably absent
Where a Judge or Magistrate having tried a case is prevented by illness or other unavoidable cause from delivering his judgment or sentence, the judgment or the sentence, if it has been reduced into writing and signed by the Judge or Magistrate, may be delivered and pronounced in open court by any other Judge or Magistrate in the presence of the defendant.
Section 316 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Warrant of commitment
Where a sentence or conviction does not order the payment of money but orders the convict to be imprisoned the court shall issue a warrant of commitment accordingly.
Section 317 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Authority for carrying out sentence other than of death
A warrant under the hand of the Judge or Magistrate by whom a convict has been sentenced or committed to prison for non-payment of a penalty or fine has full authority to the officer in charge of any prison and to all other persons for carrying into effect the sentence described in the warrant not being a sentence of death.
Section 318 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015
Error or omission not to affect legality of act
The court may, at any time amend any defect in an order or warrant of commitment and no:
(a) omission or error as to time and place; or
(b) defect in form in any order or warrant of commitment given under this Act, shall be held to render void or unlawful an act done or intended to be done by virtue of the order or warrant if it is mentioned, or may be inferred, that it is founded on a conviction or judgment sufficient to sustain it.