At the end of the prosecution’s case, the Defendant is expected to enter it’s defence by calling witnesses to rebutt the evidence of the prosecution. See Section 301 of the Administration of Criminal justice Act 2015. Surprisingly, the Defendant may raise a no case submission.
What this means is that the Prosecution has not in anyway made a prima facie case against the accused person by its evidence as to require the accused person to put up his defence.
In other words, the prosecution has not discharged the burden placed on it by law by proving the essentials elements of the crime alleged and to this effect, the accused person makes a “no case submission application”
WHEN A NO CASE SUBMISSION IS MADE, WHAT NEXT?
The court shall call on the prosecution to reply to the application on no case submission before ruling on same. Where the prosecution raises new point in it’s address, the Defendant is entitled to reply on point of law before court can give it’s ruling. See Section 303(2) of the Administration of Criminal justice Act 2015.
FACTORS THE COURT CONSIDER IN GIVING ITS RULING ON NO CASE SUBMISSION.
The court considers the following factors before ruling on No case submission application:
(a) Whether an essential element of the offence has been proved;
(b) Whether there is evidence linking the defendant with the commission of the offence with which he is charged;
(c) Whether the evidence so far led is such that no reasonable court or tribunal would convict on it; and
(d) Whether there is any other ground on which the court may find that a prima facie case has not been made out against the defendant for him to be called upon to answer. See Section 302 of the Administration of Criminal justice Act 2015
WHO CAN MAKE A NO CASE SUBMISSION IN NIGERIA?
Under the ACJA, the court can suo moto make a no case submission, where at the end of the Prosecutions case, the court is satisfied that the Defendant has not being indicted by the evidence of the Prosecution as to require the accused person to enter it’s defence. See Section 302 ACJA . OKORO V STATE.
The Defendant throught his counsel can as well enter no case submission. See Section 303 ACJA
WHEN WILL IT BE APPROPRIATE TO MAKE NO CASE SUBMISSION APPLICATION?
From the provisions of Section 302 of the Administration of Criminal justice Act 2015, if flows thus that an application for No case submission Can be made where:
a. Where the Prosecution has failed to prove the ingredients or some of the ingredients of the offence alleged.
b.Where the evidence address by the Prosecution has been thoroughly discredited in the course of cross examination.
c.Where the evidence adduced by the Prosecution is manifesly unreliable that no reasonable tribunal can rely on it to convict an accused person
d.Where there is no evidence linking the defendant with the commission of the offence for which he is charged.
See the case of Mohammed V State. Emedo V State.
WHAT THE COURT WILL DO WHEN A NO CASE SUBMISSION IS RAISED
Often, the no case submission application when made is argued by the Prosecution and Defendant through the Defence counsel. The court rules upon the application either upholding the application or overuling the application.
Where the court upholds the no case submission made, the Defendant is discharged and no further step will be required on the part of the defendant to proof his innocence.
Where the court overules the Defendant’s application on no case submission, the Defendant will be required to enter his defence. In other words, when court overules the Defendant’s application, it means that a prima facie case was made against the Defendant.
The ruling on no case submission is expected to be short and limited to only the point raised on the no case submission. See the case of Odofin Bello v State.
OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THE DEFENDANT IF HIS NO CASE SUBMISSION IS OVERULED.
a.The defendant can put up his defence
b. The Defendant can also rest his case on that of the Prosecution.
c.The Defendant can as well Appeal against the ruling of the court on no case submission. Such an Appeal is often regarded as interlocutory appeal.
A Defendant who wishes to make such appeal is expected to file motion on notice for stay of proceedings accompanied by affidavit and written address. However, the filing of application for stay of proceeding is outlawed by ACJA under Section 306.
EFFECTS OF A DISCHARGE UPON NO CASE SUBMISSION
Where the Defendant succeeds in it’s no case submission application, the Defendant will be discharged and acquitted. Such a Defendant can raise a plea of autrofois acquit in the future against same charge. See Nwali V IGP.SEE ALSO SECTION 243 OF THE ACJA
WHAT THE PROSECUTION WILL DO WHERE NO CASE SUBMISSION IS UPHELD.
The Prosecution has right to appeal against the ruling of the court uphelding the no case submission. The superior court can set aside the ruling on no case submission.