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Double Jeopardy in Nigeria

Meaning of double jeopardy

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In its ordinary usage double jeopardy connotes the unlawful procedure of subjecting a person to a trial on two separate occasions for the same offence. In law also, it’s close the act of being prosecuted or tried twice for substantially the same offence.

Constitutional prohibition of double jeopardy.

Section 36 subsection 10 of the Constitution of federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, lays down the principles of criminal law that’s where a person accused of committing a crime which is recognised by law and where he has shown that he has either been pardoned of the offence by the appropriate authority or that he has been tried by a court of law a tribunal set up by law, then he cannot be subjected to any further trial by any Court or tribunal on that same offence.

A bar to further prosecution has been placed between him and the offence. See Nigerian Army V Aminun Kano(2010) 5 NWLR Pt. 1188. P 429.

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Conditions for successful plea of double jeopardy.

The rule against double jeopardy is to protect a person from being tried twice all punished for the same offence. The conditions which must exist before an accused complete double jeopardy are:

The accused person must have been earlier tried by a competent court of law; the facts of the earlier case and the new one must be the same; and the earlier trial must have resulted in the discharge, acquittal or some other form of punishment of the accused person. See Nigerian Army V Aminu Kano Supra.

Connotation and Scope of application of doctrine of double jeopardy.

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For a plea of a bar to criminal prosecution to succeed, the claimant must place himself within the provisions of section 36, sub section 9 of the 1999 constitution.

The section state that no person who shows that he has been tried by any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal for a criminal offence, and either convicted acquitted should again be tried for that same offence of for a criminal offence having the same ingredients as that offence save upon the order of a superior Court

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