EFFECT OF PLEA OF GUILTY
DURU v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2020) LPELR 50099
In a criminal proceeding, upon the arraignment of a defendant, after the satisfaction and unequivocal assurance that the defendant understands the charge/information read over and explained to him, he has the right to make a plea to the charge. Such defendant can choose to plead guilty or plead not guilty.
Where the defendant pleads not guilty, such defendant is deemed to have put himself to trial. Section 273 ACJA. Therefore, the usual processes of Prosecution opening its case and the defendant also making the necessary defence, calling witnesses, tendering evidence and so on.
However, where a defendant pleads guilty to an offence with which he is charged, the Court shall inter alia record his plea and invite the prosecution to State the fact of the case. Section 274(1) ACJA
The invitation of the prosecution to state and summarize the facts of the case is not synonymous to making testimony. No wonder, in the case of DURU v. FRN (2020) LPELR-50099, the court maintained the position in the following words:
“The counsel stating the facts of the case and tendering documents in support of the facts cannot be equated to being a witness in the matter since the effect of the appellant had pleaded guilty is that it obviated the need for a formal hearing”.
KEY WORDS: Arraignment, Charge, Information, Plea of guilty.