Double Jeopardy: Can a Person be Imprisoned Twice for a Crime?

Double Jeopardy ny Takim Etta

Double Jeopardy Under Nigerian Law

by Takim Etta

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It is the natural right of every person to be free except in certain circumstances as imposed by law.[1] the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognizes and protects individual freedom as a right.[2] A person who has been tried and charged for a criminal offense cannot stand trial again in Nigeria for the same offense. [3] NIGERIAN ARMY v. AMINUN-KANO (2010) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1188) 429 as follows: “Double jeopardy connotes the unlawful procedure of subjecting a person to a trial on two separate occasions for the same offense”

section 36(9) of the Constitution provides that No individual who can demonstrate that they have been tried in a court or tribunal with proper jurisdiction for a criminal offense and has either been convicted or acquitted shall be subjected to another trial for the same offense or a criminal offense that shares identical elements unless ordered by a higher court authority that on Appeal.

section 36(10) of the Constitution provides that No individual who has received a pardon for a criminal offense should face a subsequent trial or legal proceedings for the same offense.

Article 14(7) of the International Convention for Civil and Political Rights provides that No individual should face a second trial or punishment for a crime for which they have already been conclusively convicted or acquitted, in accordance with the legal and penal procedures of each specific country.

The principle that a person who has been tried and convicted or acquitted by a court of competent jurisdiction cannot be retried for the same offense except on appeal is fundamental and universal. This right is so inherent that it transcends territorial boundaries. A person who is convicted or acquitted in a country other than Nigeria cannot be subjected to a new trial for the same offense, except through the appellate process.

 

Citation

  1. MacDonald, M., 1946, January. Natural rights. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Vol. 47, pp. 225-250). Aristotelian Society, Wiley.
  2. Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999
  3. Igwenyi, B.O., Nwakpu, I. and Eni, O., 2020. A Juristic Overview of the Constitutional Law Doctrine of Double Jeopardy in Nigeria. AJLHR4, p.22.
  4. RABIU v. KANO STATE (1980) LPELR-SC.49/1980

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