ARRESTING A SUSPECT WITHOUT WARRANT


WHO MAY ARREST WITHOUT A WARRANT-

i. a Police Officer,

ii. a Judicial Officer, 

iii.a Justice of the Peace 

iv. a Private Person.

 

A-THE POLICE - S. 10 CPA, S. 26 CPC, S. 24 Police Act; S. 10 ACJL

 

Who may be arrested?

a. person whom  he suspects upon reasonable grounds of having committed an indictable offence.(SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE LAW

b.any person who commits any offence in his presence.(even though offence is one for which offender cannot be arrested without warrant).

c.any person who obstructs a police officer while in the execution of his duty, or who has escaped or attempts to escape or attempts to escape from lawful custody.

d.any person in possession of anything reasonably suspected to be stolen property 

e.any person whom he suspects upon reasonable grounds to commit an offence punishable in Nigeria outside the country .

f.any person having in possession of any instrument of house breaking without lawful excuse.

g.any person against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in the state.

h.any person who has no ostensible means of subsistence and who cannot give a satisfactory account of himself, and

i.any person found in the state taking precautions to conceal his presence in circumstances which afford reason to believe that he is taking such precautions with a view to committing an offence.

 

NB-S.25 Police Act-police can make arrest based on an already issued warrant without warrant in possession

 

NOTE-In arrest without warrant, once the arrest is made upon reasonable grounds, police is not in breach of any law - Jackson v. Omorokuna; Cop v. Obolo; IGP v.ogbomo

 

NOTE-a police officer can only exercise the power of arrest without warrant within his state command.

 

Upon arrest, the suspect may be taken to a place other than the police station before going to the police station -Dallison v. Caffery. Eg – to retrieve material evidence, to verify explanation made by the suspect, etc.

 

LIABILITY FOR WRONGFUL ARREST WITHOUT WARRANT

1. If no offence was actually committed, and although an offence was committed, the arrested person was not responsible for it, the Police Officer is not liable for unlawful arrest.-Wiltshire v. Barrett;

 

2. Where a policeman detains a suspect in order to confirm his alibi or to investigate the case further, he would not be liable for false imprisonment-Dallison v. Caffery

 

B-JUDICIAL OFFICERS

 

Where an offence is committed in the presence of a Judicial Officer (Magistrate or Judge) within his district or division, the Magistrate or Judge may arrest or order any person to arrest the offender.

S. 15 CPA/ACJL

 

NB-S. 29 CPC confers powers of arrest without warrant on a Justice of the Peace. However, in practice magistrates and Judges in Northern States also exercise powers of arrest without warrant.

 

-Furthermore, a Magistrate or Judge may arrest or order the arrest of an offender whom he could have lawfully issued a warrant for arrest of such offender if the facts known to him were stated by some other person in a complaint on oath. S. 16 CPA, S. 30 CPC.

 

C-PRIVATE PERSONS - s. 12&13 CPA; s.21 ACJL;

S.24 police act provides that a private person may arrest without warrant.

i.Any person who commits an indictable offence in his presence or

ii.Any person whom he reasonably suspects of having committed a felony Nweke V. The State

iii.Any person who commits a misdeameanour by night.

iv.       A property owner can arrest any person found committing an offence injurious to property

v-        If an arrested person escapes or is rescued from custody-s. 28 (d) CPC

vi.any person whom he is directed to arrest by a Justice of Peace or a Superior Police Officer.

vii.any person who has escaped from his lawful custody.

viii.any person required to appear by public summons published under S. 67 CPC.

ix. any person who commits offence in his presence. - S.13 ACJL

x. any person he finds damaging public property.

 

NB- a person who resists by force an attempt by a private person to arrest him in the exercise of his right cannot claim the benefit of self defence- Abdullahi v. Borno Native Authority

 

 

POST ARREST REQUIREMENT BY A PRIVATE PERSON

a. he must proceed without unnecessary delay, to hand over the arrested person to a police officer.

b. Where not possible, the private person must take the arrested person to the nearest police station.

c.The Police Officer to whom the person is handed over must thereupon re-arrest the arrested person.

s.14 ACJL; s.9CPA; s.39 CPC; John Lewis v. Tims

 

ASSISTANCE OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS  BY PRIVATE PERSONS

Upon reasonable demand, every person  is bound to assist a Judge, Magistrate or Police Officer in effecting an arrest or preventing the escape of any person whom such a Judge, Magistrate or Police Officer is authorized to arrest- S. 34 CPA

 

NB-Failure to so assist without reasonable excuse and knowledge is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for one year

 

LIABILITY FOR UNLAWFUL ARREST BY PRIVATE PERSON

Where the private person fails to comply with the above post arrest requirement after exercising his power of arrest, he may render himself liable to damages for false imprisonment-

John Lewis V. Tims(1 Hr)

 

PROCEDURE FOR ARREST- S.1 ACJL; S. 3 CPA

1. Inform the person unequivocally that he is under arrest.

2.TOUCH/CONFINE the person EXCEPT there is submission to custody by words or conduct

3. Adminster Words of caution – s.3(2) ACJL

4.The person arrested shall not BE subjected to unnecessary restraints unless by court order - S.4 CPA;S.2 ACJL; s.37 CPC

 

EXCEPTIONS-

i.reasonable fear of violence

ii.an attempt to escape 

iii.safety of the suspect,

iv.direction by a magistrate, Judge or JP.

 

5.Reasonable force may be used where necessary to overcome any attempt at resistance by the suspect.-S. 261 Criminal Code

 

NOTE-criminal liability for excessive use of force- R. v Ogunbodede (manslaughter).

 

NOTE-The Police Officer can use reasonable force to prevent the escape of a person suspected of having committed a felony (7YRS)

-S. 271 Criminal code.

if offence is a capital offence (he can KILL).

 

NOTE- Invitation to the police station is NOT an arrest-(person cannot be charged for resisting arrest- Sadiq V. The State

 

 

EFFECT OF ILLEGALITY OR IRREGULARITY IN THE PROCESS OF ARREST

S. 101 CPA; s. 384 CPC; S.98 ACJL

The defect will render the arrest unlawful but trial will be valid notwithstanding irregularity in issuance and conduct of arrest-OKOTIE v COP;  STATE v. OSLER.

 

QUESTION 

Mr obi was arrested by a police officer upon a warrant issued by the IGP and is brought before the court. He is objecting on the ground that the warrant was wrongly issued. Comment on the objection? Does he have any remedy

 

NEW-A person cannot be arrested in LIEU of another person(LAGOS ONLY)-s.4 ACJL

 

 

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