HOLDING CHARGE SYNDROME; A CHALLENGE IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA
The criminal justice system revolves around three cardinal institutions: the police, court and prison. These institutions are partners in our failing criminal justice system, due to some practices that are inimical to the interest of society. Thus, the incalculable harm being wrecked on the Nigerian criminal justice system by the holding charge practice cannot be justified. Holding charge which involves the bringing of a suspect before an inferior Court that lacks jurisdiction to try him or her for the primary purpose of securing a remand order, in order to look for a prima facie evidence in support of the allegation against the suspect and thereafter abandon him or her in prison under the pretext of awaiting trial, leaves one to wonder whether the presumption of innocence is tenable in Nigeria. Holding Charge Syndrome
This is because under this practice, an accused is presumed guilty until he or she proves his innocence. Also, the crisis of congestion in our prison is the result of the holding charge practice. It is trite, that jurisdiction is the life-wire of any litigation whether civil or criminal and the base on which adjudication rest. It follows that there is obviously an anomaly in bringing a suspect for remand before a magistrate who has no power to impose penalty for the indictable offence allegedly committed by the suspect. Therefore, the practice by magistrate courts who lacked Jurisdiction in indictable offence, but goes on to remand the suspect under holding charge have been considered unconstitutional, because it is a threat to the accused person’s rights to personal liberty, dignity, and fair hearing granted by the 1999 constitution (as amended). However, some states laws have given the magistrate court the impetus to continue with this harmful practice without regard to the provisions of the grundnorm. Consequently, this research work, in chapter one will take a look at the historical inception of holding charge; chapter two will focus on the meaning of the monster called holding charge, the reason for its adoption and the illegality. Chapter three will discuss on the rights of accused persons and how holding charge have thwarted its realization. Chapter four will examine the effect of holding charge in the criminal justice administration in Nigeria. The last chapter contains observation and recommendation, mainly on abrogation of all the laws that gave magistrate courts powers to remand suspects on indictable offences even when they have no jurisdiction. Holding Charge Syndrome
i. Title page.
ii. Certification page.
iii. Approval page.
vi. Table of Contents.
vii. Table of Statutes.
viii. Table of Cases.
1.0 CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.5 Research Methodology
1.6 Relevance of the Study
1.7 Scope of the Study
1.8 Limitation of the Study
2.0 CHAPTER TWO: THE HOLDING CHARGE PRACTICE
2.2 The meaning of holding charge
2.3 The reasons for adopting holding charge
2.4 The procedures that enabled holding charge
2.5 Can holding charge practice be justified?
2.6 The illegality of holding charge
3.0 CHAPTER THREE: HOLDING CHARGE AND THE
RIGHTS OF SUSPECTS
3.2 The meaning of human rights
3.3 The rights to personal liberty
3.4 The right to fair trial within reasonable time
3.5 The right to presumption of innocence
3.6 The right to dignity of human person
4.0 CHAPTER FOUR: THE EFFECT OF HOLDING CHARGE
4.2 The effect on speedy administration of justice in Nigeria
4.3 The effect on the defence of the accused person
4.4 The effect on Nigeria prisons
4.5 The effect on fundamental human rights
5.0 CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS