Introduction and Purpose of Criminal Law

LESSON 1

WEEK 1

General Introduction and Purpose of Criminal Law

CONTENT

  • Introduction
  • Crime
  • Running offences
  • The Criminal Code
  • Purpose of Criminal Law
  • The dynamism of the Criminal Law
  • References

General Introduction and Purpose of Criminal Law

General Introduction and Purpose of Criminal Law

INTRODUCTION

General introduction and purpose of Criminal Law. Law is that the pillar of any society, an associate instruments of stability and specifically, the machinery for controlling the conduct and activities of the people and establishments of the society. each society thus creates a law to control the conduct of the group or citizenry. But General Introduction and purpose of Criminal Law,

Hence, the law is higher understood in terms of its role within society. The Criminal law is that the principal law of crimes and therefore the focus of this course, that you’re near to study. it’s additionally the substantive law that prescribes what crime is, the kind of acts or omissions that the law prescribes or proscribes; further because of the sanctions for violation or non-compliance.

Criminal law imposes restrictions on human activities or omissions. this is often suggestive that law usually and criminal law especially is the antithesis of freedom. During this context, freedom would mean, not liberty to try to no matter pleases you, however, liberty to try to no matter you would like at intervals the limits obligatory by the criminal law. General Introduction and Purpose of Criminal Law.

Viewed from the opposite perspective, criminal law expands instead of contracts your freedom. The explanation is that man isn’t simply a private, living alone in the associate unrestrained state of nature. Rather, he’s an individual’s being living in an exceedingly community with alternative humans and therefore the criminal law simply exists, within the circumstance, to limit your freedom with the target and reality of increasing your freedom as an entire.

There is no single law on crimes. criminal law is written and forms a part of our statute laws. In pre-independence times, criminal law was contained in numerous ordinances immersed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of members of the House of Representatives and revealed from time to time within the Federal Republic of Nigeria Gazette.

Currently, they’re laws passed by the State Assembly or Acts passed by the National Assembly. They area unit contained additionally in edicts passed by the governor of a State or decrees passed by the Federal Military Government. samples of such ordinances, edicts, decrees, laws or Acts are:

I. The Criminal Code Law or Act
II. The Penal code
III. The Sharia’h law
IV. The Road Traffic Ordinance or law or Act
V. The Dogs Ordinance (or Act)
VI. The Liquor Ordinance (or Act)
VII. Corruption and Financial Crimes Act e.t.c

There area unit alternative varied Acts or laws and subsidiary legislations that have created crimes. However, the prescriptions of the crimes you’ll be learning area unit contained within the Penal code applicable within the nineteen (19) Northern States and therefore the Criminal Code that applies within the seventeen (17) Southern States.

Crime

The word “crime” derived from the Latin word “Crimen” which means an associate accusation

Legislation on Crime

The Constitution and each the Penal and therefore the Criminal Codes contain references or definitions of crime that you would like to be aware of.

The Constitution section 36: Right to a fair hearing:

(a)    Sub-section:

No person shall be held to be guilty of a  criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence heavier than the penalty in force at the time the offence was committed.

(b)    “……a person shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty, therefore, is prescribed in a written law and this subsection, a written law refers to an Act of the National Assembly or a law of a State, any subsidiary legislation or instrument under the provision of a law”

Section 13

All authorities and persons exercising judicial powers shall conform to, observe and apply the provisions of the constitution

Section 17

The independence, impartiality and integrity of courts and easy accessibility thereto shall be secured and maintained.

The Penal Code

(a)    Section 3: Punishment of offences

(i)            Every person shall be liable to punishment under the Penal code for every act or omission contrary to the provisions thereof of which he shall be guilty within the Northern States.

(ii)    After the commencement of this law, no person shall be liable to punishment under any native law or custom.

(b)    Section 4.  Offences against laws of a state:

(i)            Whereby the provision of any law of the state in the North, the doing of any act or the making of any omission is made an offence, those provisions shall apply to every person who is in Northern Nigeria at the time of his doing the act or making the omission.

Running Offences

When the offence is a running offence and the elements making up the offence occur across several States, the offender is as guilty as if all the elements occur in one State under the following situations:

(a)    Where the offender commits in the Northern states, the act which makes up the initial element of the offence

(b)    where the act constituting the initial element of the offence has been committed outside the Northern States but the offender has subsequently entered the Northern States.

A person can not be guilty of Associate in nursing offence whole committed outside the Northern States whether or not or not he re-enters the Northern states thenceforth. To achieve a conviction, there should be some component of the offence occurring inside the Northern States. it’s not enough that each one that happens within the North is that the death of the victim.

Words pertaining to acts in  introduction and purpose of criminal Law

(a) In every part of the Penal code, except where a contrary intention appears from the context, words which refer to acts done extend also to illegal omissions: (section 24)

(b) Act Omission
The word “act” denotes a series of acts, as well as a single act:  and the word “omission”, denotes a series of omissions as well as a single omission: (section 25)

(c ) Offences
Except  where  otherwise  appears  from  the  context,  the  word “offence” includes an offence under any law for the time being in force: (section 28)

The Criminal Code

(a)    Section 2: Definition of Offence

An act or omission, which renders the person doing the act or making the omission liable to punishment under this Code, or under any order-in-council, Ordinance, or law or statute is called an offence.

(b)    Legal Notice No 47 of 1955

This Legal Notice provides that the provisions of the Criminal Code shall, except otherwise specified, be the law of the Federal Capital Territory and the Southern States.

Purpose of the Criminal Law

Neither the constitution, the criminal law, the Criminal Code nor the other law expressly declares what the aim of the criminal law is. Different theories of crime could gain different functions or functions of criminal law. so the needs of law as is also developed by the social science theory could disagree considerably from the needs acceptable to biological, psychological, social-psychological or economic settled theories of crime.

objectives of the criminal law

You may realize relief within the American Law Institute’s Model penal code that informs us that the objectives of the criminal law include the following:-

1. To forbid and forestall conduct that inexcusably and inexcusably inflicts or threatens substantial damage to an individual or public interests.

2. To subject to public control persons whose conduct indicates that they’re disposed to commit crimes.

3. To safeguard conduct that’s while not fault from condemnation as a criminal.

4. to convey honest warning of the character of the conduct declared to be an offence.

5. To differentiate on affordable grounds between serious and minor offences.

The Wolfenden Committee on Homosexual Offences and prostitution,
1957 (UK) expressed the read that the target of the criminal law includes

I. Preservation of public order and decency

II. Protection of the citizen from what’s offensive and injurious and

III. Provision of comfortable safeguards against the exploitation and corruption of special teams – the vulnerable teams

These declared objectives area unit by no means that complete, neither area unit they adequate. as an example, legal code punishes strict liability crimes and these offences area unit while not fault to boost public safety and welfare. The Federal Military government created retroactive and Athenian decrees prescribing offences a number of that area unit punishable with death for the aim of inculcating discipline, transparency and responsibility among public officers.

Writers have aforesaid that there area unit four aims of the criminal law. These are:

Retribution
Deterrence (particular or general) Incapacitation
Rehabilitation and reformation

But social control may be a technique by that legal code seeks to attain its larger objectives. The objectives of criminal ought to thus be confused with objectives of a dispositional technique, which can disagree from one convict to reproductive structure or from one occasion to a different.

The dynamism of the Criminal Law

The American legal philosopher and law teacher, Roscoe Pound informs us that

“Law is a  species of social engineering whose function it is to maximize the fulfilment of the interests of the community and its members and to promote the smooth running of the machinery of society.
For example, the National Assembly reported  the subsequent decrees:

(i)          Decree No 2 which had permitted the State to detain any person without Warrant.

(ii)         Decree No.4 which sought to gag the press

(iii)        The  Miscellaneous  Decree which had capitalized new offences and decapitalised others.  The offences involving hard drugs ceased to be capital crimes.

Karibi Whyte, JSC (as he then was) aforesaid that the perform of law is to
harmonize the varied social interests in an exceeding manner that can guarantee larger social well-being with minimum friction. The learned justice of the Supreme Court invited us to think about the interaction between the following:

1. Criminal Law in action, and

2. Criminal Law and law texts

Concerning this interaction, Karibi Whyte invited us to think about three extra problems.

a) Criminal law within the hand of the law-giver or as a method of shaping society.

b) Criminal law as a framework of development administration

c) Criminal law as some way of anticipating the failure of the society or defence of humans against intending technology.

He finished that the criminal law in actual operation is law behind the law and offers an understanding of the law and its role than abstract analysis.

Sociologists have warned against sure false assumptions e.g

• Consensus on interests
• That interests area unit better-known which what’s needed is to tailor the
criminal law thereto.
• That law is natural and operates outside the management of sectional interests.

Find Out More Topics…

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REFERENCES

  • Slapper; G: The English Legal System, 7th Ed, Cavendish Publishing Ltd
  • FGN: –  The Criminal Code

The Penal Code

  • The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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