THE RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED PERSON UNDER THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM


THE RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED PERSON UNDER THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM    

ABSTRACTUnder the Nigerian criminal justice the constitutional right of an accused person is enshrined in Section 35 and 36 of the Constitution of  the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 such rights include, the right to be informed promptly in the language that he understands, the details and nature of the offence of the accused, the right to be given adequate time to prepare his defence, the right to defend himself in person or by legal practitioner of his own choice, the right to have an interpreter free of charge if he does not understand the language of the court, the right to have record of the proceeding kept and the right to have copies of this within seven days of the conclusion of the case, the right to remain silent during the trial, the right not to be tried and convicted twice for the same offence, the right to be presumed innocent until he is proved guilty and the right not to be charged for an unwritten offence. All these rights aimed at ensuring that an accused person is not unjustly dealt with.Also the relevant provisions in CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE, CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT and the CHILD RIGHT ACT shed more light on the rights of an accused person in criminal trials. The thesis in its totality is channelled toward making sure that Nigerians are fully informed/aware of their rights especially the accused person and how it could be enforced. This project will not seek to look at the rights generally but most importantly the right of an accused person vis-a-vis the relevant provisions.

TABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACTTABLE OF CONTENTSTABLE OF CASESTABLE OF STATUTESLIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

CHAPTER 1GENERAL INTRODUCTION:1.0.0: INTRODUCTION1.1.0: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY1.2.0: STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM1.3.0: OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY1.4.0: PURPOSE OF THE STUDY1.5.0: METHODOLOGY1.6.0: DEFINITION OF TERMS1.7.0: LITERATURE REVIEW1.8.0: CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 2THE CONCEPT OF HUMAN RIGHTS2.0.0: INTRODUCTION2.1.0: HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF HUMAN RIGHT IN NIGERIA2.2.0: DISTINCTION BETWEEN HUMAN RIGHT AND FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT2.3.0:  CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 3THE CONCEPT OF RIGHTS OF AN ACCUSED PERSON3.0.0: INTRODUCTION3.1.0: THE RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED UNDER3.2.0: THE CONSTITUTION3.3.0: THE RIGHT OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE3.4.0: THE RIGHT OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE ACT3.5.0: THE JUVENILE CRIME AND THE CHILD RIGHT ACT3.6.0: CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 4SAFEGUARD FOR THE RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED PERSON4.0.0: INTRODUCTION4.1.0: THE AWAITING TRIAL OF AN IN-MATE AS AN ACCUSED PERSON4.2.0: THE ROLE OF LEGAL AID COUNSEL, BAR ASSOCIATION4.3.0: CONCLUSION

CHAPTER 5GENERAL CONCLUSION5.0.0: CONCLUSION5.1.0: RECOMMENDATIONSBIBLIOGRAPHY

   CHAPTER I    GENERAL INTRODUCTION    1.0.0: INTRODUCTION  When  a  suspect  is  described  as  having  right,  he  is  acknowledged  to  be  entitled  to     something to which he has just claim under the law. By virtue of man’s creation, he   has  certain  rights  which  are  common  to  those  of  all  other  men.  Most  of  the   fundamental rights  are in  a  sense  natural  right vested  in  every  individual  and  to   which he is entitled without any obligation or duty on the part of the government to   provide facilities for their enjoyment.     Moreover, all  fundamental  rights are  in  the  final  analysis  rights,  which  impose   limitations  on  executive,  legislative  or  judicial  powers  of  the  government  and  are   accordingly easily justifiable. Fundamental Human Right entails universal humanity   which  men  enjoys  and  shares  with  his  fellow  men  whether  he  is a  suspect  or  a   freeman. This in its totality has informed the writing of this project.  

  1.1.0: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY  Based  on  the  adoption of universal  declaration of  Human  Rights and  the     incorporation  of  fundamental  human  rights  in our  constitution,  basic  fundamental   human  rights  have  been  created and which  should  be  respected  by  all  men  in  the   Nigeria  society.  Unfortunately  however,  many  people  in  our  society  face untold               1  hardship  day  in  day  out  because  they  are  denied  their  basic  rights,  which  normally   the Constitution of Nigeria would enforce even though they are suspects but because   they  are  unaware  of  these  rights  they  rarely  or  never  claim  them. However, those   who  are  saddled  with  these  responsibilities  fail  to  do  their  work  properly. In  this   respect,  this  project  will  discuss  some  of  the rights  and  the major  rights  of  the   suspects  and  how  it  could  be  known,  respected  and  enforced  properly  by  those     concerned.

  1.2.0: STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM  Even  though there  is  a  universal  declaration  of Fundamental  Human  Rights and   Chapter IV of  the  Nigerian constitution in  Fundamental  Human  Rights, the   practicality  has  not  been  perfect because  of  the  prevailing  situation  of  unlawful   treatment of suspects in the country.   It  is  unlawful  to  treat  suspect  any  how  simply  because  they  are  being  regarded  as     suspects.  This  clearly  shows  that the  judiciary  is  aware  of  the  right  of  an  accused   person and that it is sacrosanct and cannot be taken away unlawfully in this country.   The violations of these rights have been so rampant in Nigeria.                                                                                   2  1.3.0: OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY       i. To study the relevance of the rule of law as a vital instrument for the protection         and enjoyment of Fundamental Human Right by the people most especially an         accused person, who is the main centre of this work.    ii.  To  know the  principle  of  the  rule  of  law,  through  which the  rights of  the       accused can be respected and recognized by everyone.     iii.  To  enable  the  people know  the  best  way  to  seek  redress  in  the  court  of  law         whenever their rights are being infringed upon.  

  1.4.0: PURPOSE OF THE STUDY  Ignorance as we all know is a disease, and has been earlier said, Nigerians generally   are not well abreast of their legal rights even though  it has been boldly written and   spelt out in the Constitution of the country. But because every disease has a cure, the   cure  for  the lack  of awareness  of  these  rights  is  the  major  purpose  of this  work     particularly the right of an accused as stipulated in section 36 of the Constitution of   the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Which are: Right to silence, Right to be presumed   innocent until proved guilty, Right to an interpreter, Right to informed properly the   nature and detail of the charge among others           1.5.0: METHODOLOGYThe method that will be used to carry out this work is descriptive and not analytical.   Major primary  and  secondary sources of  law  would  be  considered  for  the proper   appraisal of this topic. The primary sources  include the Constitution of the  Federal   Republic  of  Nigeria,  mainly  Chapter  IV  and  Section  35  and  36;  the  Criminal     Procedure  Code;  the  Criminal  Procedure  Act;  and  the  Child  Rights  Act.  The     secondary source includes the International Articles on pro-bono services.  

  1.6.0: DEFINITION OF TERMS   ACCUSED: One charged with an offence   AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM: The other party must be heard   LEGAL AID: Free or inexpensive legal services provided to those who cannot afford to  pay  full  price. Legal  Aid is  usually  administered  locally  by  a                   specially established organisation  NEMO DEBET ESSE JUDEX IN PROPRIA CAUSA: No one can be a judge in his              own case   PRO  BONO:  Being  or  involving  uncompensated  legal  services  especially  for  the                 public good                                                                                  4  PUBLIC DEFENDER: A lawyer or staff of lawyers, usually publicly appointed and                           paid, whose duty is to represent indigent criminal defendants     SUSPECT: A person believed to have committed a crime or offence. To consider    wrong doing without certain truth   UBI JUS IBI REMEDIUM: Where there is a right there is a remedy

  1.7.0: LITERATURE REVIEW Jide  Bodede1 opined  that  the  right  of  fair  hearing  within  a  reasonable  time  is  the   fundamental  right  of  every  accused  person  guaranteed  in  the  constitution.  He     emphasizes  the  importance  of  the  right  to  fair  hearing  as  entitled  to  everyone   especially an accused person.  Adesiyan  G.O2 on  the  right of  an  accused  person to  silence  limiting  his  work  to   Nigeria says that while the police have a legal right to interrogate a suspect, any use   of force made to make him answer a question is illegal and judges rule was introduce   as a result of discuss.   1   Criminal Evidence in Nigeria,  (Florence and Lambard, Nig. Ltd publisher  2008 )p.89  2   An Accused Person’s  Rights in Nigeria Criminal Law, (Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria     1996) p.67                                                                                 5  Ibrahim Imam3 View on the constitutional safeguard for an accused person rights to   fair trial in the Nigerian criminal justice write extensively on the duty of counsel to   an accused person  in criminal proceeding that he should devote himself  completely   to his task irrespective of what he may think of the charge.   To Onawola4 explained that where a bail condition is breached, the bail granted will   be revoked if the accused is found supported with clear evidence to have interfered   with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the cause of justice.   Audi  Jummai5 opined  that  human  rights  contained  in  the  constitution  will  be   meaningless if we cannot enforce its breaches (Ubi Jus Ibiremeduim).              1.8.0: CONCLUSION   A vibrant and effective criminal justice is an absolute necessity if law and order is to be  maintained  in  any  society.  Under  Chapter  IV  of  the  1999  Constitution  of  the   Federal  Republic  of  Nigeria,  the rights  of  an  accused  person  standing  trial  for  a   criminal offence are fully guaranteed. The relevant sections are sections 35 and 36 of   3   Constitutional Safeguard of the Accused Person Rights to Fair Trial in the Nigeria Criminal Law,     (2008) The Legal Issues, a publication of Legal Aid Club. p. 273  4    Bail and Bail pending – An appraisal  (2007)  UILSSJ 12 P.5  5    Means of Enforcing Human Rights, Accountability and Democracy in Nigeria (1999) ABULJ, 6     p.150   the 1999 constitution. For an effective criminal justice to come to stay, the law is to   adequately protect the accused person rights so that justice is not only done but seen   to be done because the full weights of the laws tend to fall towards the accused.

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THE RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED PERSON UNDER THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM



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