Lesson 1: General Introduction

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To ensure successful investigations the right legal procedure must be followed. Every law enforcer must be aware of and observe the provisions of the criminal procedure. The purpose is not only to ensure the admissibility of the evidence that will be presented but also to justify his actions.

Anybody who professes to be an effective police officer must thus have good knowledge of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 30/60) or at least familiarize himself/herself with its content. Criminal procedure refers the legal system for determining the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime.

Some of the issues in criminal procedure so crucial in learning to become a criminal investigator include Arrest and bail (See section 3 – 15 of Act 30/60), taking of fingerprints and photographs of people in connection with an offence (Section 108 of Act 30/60) proof of previous conviction (See section 117 of Act 30/60) serving a summons and executing a warrant. In Ghana as in many other Democracies, the heart of the system is the presumption of innocence. This means that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In all criminal cases it is up to the prosecution to prove the elements of the offence, which make up guilt. Presumption of innocence takes further expression in the right of the accused not to answer questions that might incriminate himself /herself, and the right to cross-examine all prosecution witnesses. Furthermore defendant can only be prosecuted once for an alleged crime and the onus (burden) lies on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused.

The two basic procedures for initiating a criminal proceeding are by formal complaint to the police or by information to a justice on oath

  1. COMPLAINT: (See section 414 OF ACT 30/60): Complaint is an allegation that any named person has or is about to commit an offense of moving him to issue a process (Warrant or summons).
  2. INFORMATION: Is any complaint on Oath or any charge made before a justice to the effect that someone has or in suspect of having committed an offence or an Act, for which he is liable to be punished.

Differencebetween complaint and information The difference between Complaint and Information is that the former is the foundation leading to an order by the Court whilst the latter is the foundation for a conviction by the Court