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Rufai v. State.pdf

ISIAKA RUFAI

V

THE STATE

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

ABUBAKAR BASHIR WALI, JSC ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC

UMARU ATU KALGO, JSC

SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO, JSC

SC. 283/2000

FRIDAY, 13TH JULY, 2001 

COURT - Language of the court - What is

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Arraignment - Valid arraignment Constituents of

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Criminal Procedure Act, section

215 -  Provisions for arraignment thereunder - Mandatory nature of

-  Failure to comply with - Effect

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE - Criminal trial - Where declared a nullity - Proper order to make

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Proper order - Where criminal trial declared a nullity - Proper order to make

STATUTE - Criminal Procedure Act, section 215 - Provision for arraignment thereunder - Mandatory nature of - Failure to comply with - Effect

Issue:

Whether the trial of the appellant for murder is a nullity for reason of failure to comply with the mandatory provisions of section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Oyo State.

Facts:

The appellant was convicted of the murder of one Bolape Olalekan. His appeal to the Court of Appeal was unsuccessful; so he appealed further to the Supreme Court.

The record of appeal showed that the charge was not read and explained to the appellant in Yoruba which is the language he understands. His counsel contended that this was in violation of section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Oyo State which provides as follows: “The person to be tried upon any charge or information shall be placed before the court unfettered unless the court shall see cause otherwise to order and the charge or information shall be read over and explained to him to the satisfaction of the court by the registrar or other officer of the court, and such person shall be called upon to plead instantly thereto, unless where the person is entitled to service of a copy of the information he objects to the want of such service and the court  finds that he has not been duly served/therewith.” Section 33(6)(a) of the 1979 Constitution provides:

“33(6)(a). Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled:-

to be informed promptly in the language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence.”

The Supreme Court considered and distinguished the case of Tobby vs. State (2001)  FWLR (Pt. 52) 2081 which had similar facts with instant case and in which re-trial was not ordered.