Criminal Trial: Sessions Court

A trial, though not defined in the CrPC hereinafter mentioned as the Code, is commonly understood as the stage of the criminal justice process that begins after the charges have been filed. This process usually ends with either the acquittal or conviction of the accused.

The code establishes the process, and the procedure of a session trial using the provisions of the code from chapter XVIII, appropriately named “Trial Before A Court of Session”, this chapter spans from section 225 to section 237 of the code.

In this article, we shall be talking about the process of Acquittal and Conviction of an Accused from a Sessions court.

The First provision of the chapter says that any criminal trial of a sessions court, is to be conducted by a Public Prosecutor.[1] The court of sessions, is a court at a district level, that has been given the responsibility to take cognizance of an alleged offense so committed by the accused, that of a grievous nature. The accused offense is, thus, brought before the court, to pass a judgment of acquittal or conviction. The First task of the Public Prosecutor, is to judge the charge brought against the accused, and to show evidence that they propose to prove the guilt of the accused.[2]

The judge, upon considering the record of the case and the documents submitted, and also hearing the submission of the public prosecutor and the accused remains unconvinced, and is of the opinion that there is no sufficient ground for the proceeding against the accused, shall have the authority to discharge the accused while recording a detailed reason for doing so.[3]

The provision of the code under S.228 says that, if post hearing the submissions of both parties, the Judge is of the opinion that there is a ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence (a) that is not exclusively triable under their court then such charge shall be added and the case shall be transferred to a court of Appropriate Jurisdiction. (b) if such a charge is allowed to be tried under the sessions court, the Judge shall amend the list of the charge and frame in writing of the charge.

The code, under S.229, states that if the accused pleads guilty in front of the court, the judge shall record the plea, and under their jurisdiction, convict the accused.

The code states, under S.230, that if the accused so refuses to plead, or does not offer a plea, the judge then shall fix a date for the summoning and examination of the witness. Upon the application of prosecution, the judge can also issue any process for compelling the attendance of a witness and/or production of any document or any other thing.

The Code under S.231 states that on the date so fixed, the Judge shall proceed to take all evidence that may be produced before the court by the prosecution.

The code under S.232 states that, if after taking the evidence of the prosecution, examining the accused and hearing both the parties; the Judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused has committed the offence, the judge has the authority to order an acquittal.

The code, under S.233, states that if the accused is not acquitted, then they shall be called upon to enter their defence and produce, in front of the court, any evidence that might support their case. The code further states that, if the accused files in a written statement, the judge shall file it with the record. The provision of the code then goes on to say that if the accused so applies for the issuance of any process of compelling the attendance of a witness, or the production of a document or evidence or thing, the judge shall issue such process unless they are of the mind that such an application should be refused, on the ground that such an application has been filed for the purpose of vexation or delay or for defeating the ends of justice.

The code under S.234 states that, when the examination of the witness is complete, the prosecution shall sum up their case and then the defence shall be entitled to a reply.

The code under S.235 states that, after hearing arguments on facts and law, the judge will give a judgement on the case unless, the Judge choses to use the provision under S.360[4] with which the Judge shall now have the authority to hear the accused on the question of Sentencing, and then pass a judgement according to the law.

The code under S.236 states that, in a case of a previous conviction the judge, wherein the accused has denied to such a previous conviction, the judge shall not be allowed to read out the charges of the previous case or shall have the authority to ask the accused for a plea to that particular case. The prosecution shall also be barred to show evidence of the same in the court. Only after the sentencing of the case shall the Judge have a discretion to pass a judgment in the present case.

[1] S.225 of the Code

[2] S.226 of the Code

[3] S.227 of the Code

[4] S.360  Order to release on probation of good conduct or after admonition



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