ACJA 2015-Background, Underlying Principles & Innovations

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ACJA 2015 Background Underlying Principles InnovationsYemi Akinseye George Background to the ACJA.
The Administration of Criminal JusticeAct ACJA was signed into law byPresident Goodluck Jonathan on 14th Before then the Criminal Procedure Act CPA and the Criminal Procedure Code.
CPC applied in the Southern andNorthern States respectively Background contd The CPA and the CPC wereinherited from the erstwhile.
British colonial administration Reasons for changing from the oldcriminal procedure laws contd These include delay in the dispensation of justice .
congested dockets of the courts abuse of arrest powers by the police excessive use of imprisonment dueto lack of alternatives Reasons for changing from the old.
criminal procedure laws contd congestion of prisons with a highpopulation of Awaiting Trial Persons lack of witness protection and above all anachronistic and convoluted.
procedures Most notorious feature of theold criminal procedure system It was highly susceptible to abuse and manipulationthrough the use of .
interlocutory applications Interlocutory appeals and stay of proceedings These seriously undermined the ability of the courts toconclude trials which involved high profile defendants .
Examples of delay of HighProfile cases under the old FRN v Igbinedion 5 years FRN v Dariye 8 years FRN v Nyame 7 years.
FRN v Borisade 8 years FRN v Lawan 6 years and still on going FRN v Kalu 6 years FRN v Wabara About15 years Recentlydismissed .
FRN v Turaki 7 years still unconcluded Advocacy for Change 1 Nweze JSC So since 2011 that is four whole years now theappellant through the disingenuous ploy of his counsel .
has held up proceedings at the trial court relating to hisalleged offences under the corrupt practices and OtherRelated offences Act Ikechukwu v FRN 2 Ors 2015 7 NWLR Pt 1457 1 Advocacy for Change 2 .
Aka ahs JSC It is to be noted that the trial of the appellant is yet tocommence It should become abundantly clear to the laymanthat the sole aim of this appeal is to stall and eventually frustratethe actual trial of the appellant It is in the interest of both the.
appellant and the wider society that his innocence or guilt isestablished as public confidence in the administration of criminaljustice is eroded where those with means or the powerful erectlegal bumps in the judicial process to delay justice Response of the Executive Arm.
Establishment by Chief Akin Olujimi SAN then Hon Attorney General of theFederation of the National Working Groupon the Reform of Criminal JusticeAdministration .
The National Working Group had membersfrom all stakeholders of the administrationof criminal justice Response of the Executive Arm The ACJ Bill was drafted by Chinonye Obiagwu .
National Coordinator of Legal Defence andAssistance Project LEDAP and chairman of theNWGRCJA and improved by Professor YemiAkinseye George then Special Assistant to theHon Attorney General of the Federation and.
Secretary of the NWGRCJA The work of the NWGRCJA was funded byMacArthur Foundation Response of the Legislature Lagos State s representative on the NWG was Mr Fola.
Arthur Worrey then DPP of Lagos He took the draft Bill to Lagos and they reworked itunder the leadership of Professor Yemi Osinbajo thenthe Attorney General of Lagos State Lagos State House of Assembly passed the Bill as the.
Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State A revised version was passed in 2011 Passage of the ACJ Bill at theFederal LevelThe National Assembly eventually Passed the.
ACJ Bill as a private member s Bill in 2015 The version passed was significantly improvedby the Panel on Implementation of JusticeReform PIJR set up by Mohammed BelloAdoke SAN then Hon Attorney General of the.
Federation and Minister of Justice Panel on Implementation ofJustice Reform PIJR PIJR was chaired by Hon Justice I U Bello Judge of the FCT High Court as he then was .
and Professor Yemi Akinseye George Presidentof the Centre for Socio Legal Studies CSLS asa member of the PIJR and Secretary of the Sub committee on Criminal Justice Reform The PIJR was supported by the MacArthur.
Foundation What the ACJA seeks to do to transform the criminal justice system to reflect the true intents of the Constitution andthe demands of a democratic society .
to eliminate unacceptable delays in disposing ofcriminal cases and improve the efficiency ofcriminal justice administration and to strengthen the hand of judges and restore theirrightful position as the driver of criminal justice.
administration Purpose of the ACJAThe purpose of this Act is to ensure that the systemof administration of criminal justice in Nigeria promotes efficient management of criminal justice.
institutions speedy dispensation of justice protection of the society from crime and protection of the rights and interests of thesuspect the defendant and the victim s 1 1 .
Compatibility with the ConstitutionThe objective of speedy dispensation of justice is inconformity with s 36 4 of the CFRN 1999 to theeffect that whenever a person is charged with a criminal offence .
he shall unless the charge is withdrawn be entitled toa fair hearing in public within a reasonable time by acourt or tribunal Underlying Principles of the ACJAUniformity ACJA.
combines the elements of the old CPC andthe old CPA and creates in federalmatters a uniform criminal procedure abolishes inefficient aspects of the oldcriminal procedure e g the requirement for.
leave to prefer a charge in the High Court Locus classicus In Saraki v FRN 2016 3 NWLR pt 1500 531 at 578 the SC held With the repeal of the CriminalProcedure Act and the Criminal.
Procedure Code section 493 of theAdministration of Criminal JusticeAct 2015 has taken their place U P 2 Clarity of objectivesThe ACJA sets out to achieve a.
set of objectives which areclearly stated in section 1 1 of U P 3 Restorative JusticeAlthough restorative justice practices werethe main features of the African traditional.
or pre colonial system of justice these wereneither recognized nor embedded in thecriminal justice system introduced by thecolonial masters These are now incorporated into the ACJA as.
alternatives to imprisonment and fine Restorative justice mechanisms in Suspended sentence Section 461 Community Service Section 460 466 Probation under Sections 453 458 .
Compensation under sections 454 3 Restorative justice mechanisms inthe ACJA contd Restitution under sections 270 2 b 5 ix 6 b 321 341 342 401 g 454 4 .
Rehabilitation under sections 401 467 468 Treatment under sections 298 2 311 2 319 1 c 401 c Data or statistics driven criminaljustice system.
Modern criminal justice admin requires the use of data tracking offenders forecasting crime trends and planning appropriate preventive measures ACJA provides for criminal justice database under the.
management of the IGP and the AG Arrests trials and decisions in all criminal cases must befed into this data base known as the Central CriminalRecords Registry CCRR S 16 Technology aided justice.
The ACJA in s 364 provides for the taking of notes of evidence or record ofproceedings at a trial by manual orelectronic recording e recording of the process of taking confessional.
statements s 15 4 The Court of Appeal has held that failure to record thetaking of confessional statements on video willinvalidate any statement so taken unless the statement taking is witnessed .
Gender parity The ACJA makes attempts to address discriminationagainst women S 167 3 that women cannot be prevented fromserving as sureties for suspects .
The right of a woman to maintain and holdproperty in her own name is entrenched in theAct S 191 However the language of the Act may becriticized as being male oriented .
Protection of the Child No death penalty for a child A pregnant woman cannot begiven the death penalty S 404 Children are to be tried under the.
Child Rights Law SS 371 452 467 Human Rights compliance The ACJA makes a deliberate attempt toensure that the constitutional rights ofsuspects are well protected by law.
enforcement agents and the courts The right to bail and the procedure foractualizing it are clearly spelt out in the Act The ACJA adopts a liberal policy with respectto the grant of bail to a suspect .
Innovations in the ACJA Applicability to all federal courts and thetrial of federal offences S 2 1 Prohibition of unlawful arrests unlawfularrest is one of the major problems of the.
Nigerian criminal process searches shall be conducted decently andby a person of the same sex Innovations in the ACJA contd S 7 prohibits arrest by proxy or arrest.
in lieu of parents siblings friends orrelations of suspects S 6 2 makes provisions for theprotection of constitutional rights ofcitizens who are arrested .
Suspect must be informed of thereason for the arrest Innovations in the ACJA contd Humane treatment of an arrestedperson and prohibition of arrest for civil.
cases S 8 1 Mandatory inventory of property s 10 Mandatory record of arrests S 15 Innovations in the ACJA contd Establishment of a Central Criminal Records.
Registry CCRR S 16 1 within the Nigeria Police Electronic recording of confessional statements Section 15 5 Liberal regime of bail Monthly report by Police to supervising.
magistrates s 28 Inspection visits to detention facilities S 34 Innovations in the ACJA contd Quarterly report of arrests to the A GFederation S 29 of the ACJA by the.
Inspector General Police and head of everyarresting agency Returns by Comptroller General of Prisons Abolition of lay prosecution S 106 Innovations in the ACJA contd .
Professional bondsperson S 187 Time protocol for remand orders The ACJA has abolished the practiceof holding charges S 293 299provide guidelines .
Trial in abstentia s 266 Innovations in the ACJA contd Guidelines to prevent abuses in PleaBargaining S 270 Measures for achieving speedy trial e g .
s 382 provides that where an information hasbeen filed the Chief Judge shall assign it for trialwithin 15 working days of its filing Upon assigning the information the court towhich the information is assigned shall within 10.
working days issue notice of trial Innovations in the ACJA contd S 221 Objections shall not be taken orentertained during proceeding or trial onthe ground of an imperfect or erroneous.
S 396 2 any ruling on an objection to acharge will be taken along with thejudgment on the substantive matter Innovations in the ACJA contd S 396 3 and 4 require trials to proceed on a day to day.
Where this is impracticable the prosecution and thedefendant are entitled to a maximum of five adjournmentseach from arraignment to judgment with the intervalbetween each adjournment not exceeding 14 days Where it is impracticable to conclude a criminal proceeding.
after the parties have exhausted their five adjournmentseach the interval between one adjournment to another shallnot exceed seven days inclusive of weekends Innovations in the ACJA contd S 396 6 empowers the court to award costs with the sole.
aim of discouraging frivolous adjournments S 396 7 allows a Judge who has been elevated to theCourt of Appeal to continue to sit as a High Court Judge forthe purpose of concluding any part heard criminal case Abolition of stay of proceedings in criminal cases S .
The court shall not entertain an application for stay ofproceedings Innovations in the ACJA contd Timeline S 110 3 requires that trial shallcommence not later than 30 days from the date.
of filing the charge and the trial shall becompleted within a reasonable time Where a trial does not commence within 30days or trial has commenced but has not beencompleted after 180 days of arraignment the.
Magistrate shall forward to the CJ the particularsof the charge and reasons for failure tocommence the trial or to complete the trial Innovations in the ACJA contd Quarterly returns to the CJ S 110 4 for courts to.
make quarterly returns to the CJ on the particulars of allThe Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, on 14th May 2015. Before then the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), applied in the Southern and Northern States respectively.

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