2. Proceedings may be instituted in court either by the making of
a complaint or by bringing a person who has been arrested
without a warrant before a magistrate.
A complaint is made to the magistrate. It maybe in writing or
an oral statement ( viva voce). Where it is viva voce, the
complaint is reduced to writing, and in either case it is signed
by both the magistrate and the complainant.
A situation where a complaint is made orally to a magistrate
may arise in a case where a private individual intends to file a
Institution of Criminal
3. The magistrate then draws up a charge containing a statement
of the offence with which the accused is charged, unless the
charge is signed and presented by a police officer.
Once the magistrate has received and signed the charge, he
may then issue either a summons or a warrant to compel the
attendance of the accused person before the subordinate court
having the jurisdiction to try the offence alleged to have been
4. The validity of proceedings undertaken in pursuance of a
complaint or a charge are not affected either by a defect in
the complaint or charge or by the fact that summons or
warrant was issued without a complaint or charge.
5. A Charge is a statement of offence or offences, which a person
is accused of and the particulars thereof.
A charge is a written statement of complaint brought against
an accused person in a court of law.
A Charge states concisely the offence which the accused
person is alleged to have committed.
Section 134 of the Criminal Procedure Code states- every
charge or information shall contain, and shall be sufficient if it
contains, a statement of the specific offence or offences with
which the accused person is charged, together which such
particulars as may be necessary for giving reasonable
information as to the nature of the offence charged.
Read together with section 135 too.
A Charge Sheet.
6. A charge or complaint consists of two parts;
1. A statement of the offence- it particularly states the law
and the sections of the law that have allegedly been
breeched. The statement of offence, should offer a brief
description of the offence in ordinary language avoiding
as far as possible the use of technical terms. It is not
necessary to put all the elements of the offence within the
2. The particulars of the offence- it contains the date and
place where the offence had been committed, the subject
matter of the charge and the identity of the complainant
and of the accused person. They should be simple and
technical terms should be avoided as far as possible.
7. The purpose of a charge is to inform the accused person of the
nature and particulars of the offence with which he is charged
so as to enable him to prepare a Defence; the particulars of
the offence should allege the acts that make up the offence.
In Musoke V Uganda- it was held that a charge of robbery,
which stated that the complainant had been robbed of his
household properties, did not disclose any offence because the
identity and particulars of the property stolen were not stated
( so as to enable the accused to know what he was said to
8. Joinder refers to the action of Charging together.
Joinder of Counts refers to the charging together of a number
of offences be they felonies or misdemeanors in the same
charge sheet or information.
Joinder is permissible if the offences charged are founded on
the same facts or form or are part of a series of offences of
the same or a similar character.
Joinder Of Counts.
9. This form of charging, is convenient and expedient i.e. it saves
time and avoids multiplicity of trials revolving around the
same set of facts.
It is of advantage to the accused, as it saves him legal costs
as well as affords him the opportunity of serving concurrent
sentences in the event of conviction.
10. (1) Any offences, whether felonies or misdemeanors, may be
charged together in the same charge or information if the
offences charged are founded on the same facts, or form or
are part of a series of offences of the same or a similar
(2) Where more than one offence is charged in a charge or
information, a description of each offence so charged shall be
set out in a separate paragraph of the charge or information
called a count.
(3) Where, before trial, or at any stage of a trial, the court is
of the opinion that a person accused may be embarrassed in
his Defence by reason of being charged with more than one
offence in the same charge or information, or that for any
other reason it is desirable to direct that the person be tried
separately for any one or more offences charged in a charge
or information, the court may order a separate trial of any
count or counts of that charge or information.
Section 135 of C.P.CODE.
11. Courts expressed that where here is a single complex of
offences connected in kind and time, it is undesirable,
although not unlawful, for the accused to be arraigned on
separate trials. It is also undesirable to have separate trials as
it denies the court the opportunity to look at the accused vis a
vis the series of offences as a whole when sentencing.
The rule therefore is that where an accused person is alleged
to have committed more than one offence, he may be charged
in the same proceedings with all the offences.
Ngibuini V Republic.
12. Where offences are not founded on the same facts, or do not
form part of a series of the same or similar character are
charged in the same charge sheet or information, the same
will be ruled improper as it amounts to misjoinder.
13. The appellant was convicted of one count for obtaining money
by false pretenses, and on another of giving false information.
The Court of Appeal held that it was doubtful whether the
charge in respect to the false report could be said to have
been founded on the same facts as the other charge and that
it might, therefore, have been more properly made the subject
matter of a separate trial.
Republic v Gulamhussein Jetha.
14. The appellant was charged on 3 counts; wounding X with an
intent to cause grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to
property and obstructing a police officer in the course of his
The first count contain no words to indicate that the alleged
wounding with intent was in any way connected with the third
count of attempting to resist the arrest.
It is clear from the evidence that the 3 offences occurred in a
series of attempts to resist arrest. This however was not clear
from the charges.
The C.O.A considered that the third count was wrongly
included in the charge, hence a misjoinder.
Joseph V Republic.
15. This refers to the joining or charging together of two or more accused
persons within the same charge or information and trying them together
within the same proceedings.
As per section 136 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the following are
persons that may be so joined.
a) Person accused of an offence committed in the course of the same
b) Persons accused of an offence and persons accused of abatement, or
of an attempt t commit the said offence.
c) Persons accused of two or more offences of the same kind committed
jointly within a period of 12 months.
d) Persons accused of different offences committed in the course of the
e) Persons charged with offences relating to theft or fraudulent
acquisition of property between whom possession or retention of the
said property has been transferred.
f) Persons accused of an offence relating to counterfeit coin, or of
abetment or attempting to commit any such offence.
Joinder Of Persons.
16. Some herdsmen were convicted of contravening the Disease of
Animals Ordinance prohibiting the movement of cattle in a
proclaimed area. It was held that to try five persons together
for different offences committed at different times and places
is an irregularity vitiating the trial.
Republic v Ndungi and others.
17. It was held that two persons accused of raping two different
women separately albeit at about the same time and place
could not be tried at the same trial, the transaction not being
Republic V Hassan Saleh and
18. The three appellants faced separate counts of stealing by
servant in one charge sheet.
The particulars stated that the offences were committed on
separate dates. The items alleged to have been stolen were
The y were not charged as having a common intention.
They appealed against their convictions and sentences.
It was held that a joint charge against several accused
persons alleged to have committed separate offences on
different dates amounts to misjoinder and such aa charge is
defective. There should have been a separate charge for each
person and separate count for each alleged offence committed
on a different date.
Malebe V Republic.