Stages of a Criminal Case

(LIAQAT ALI, Karachi)

Criminal prosecution develops in a series of stages, beginning with Registration of complaint/FIR, an arrest and ending at a point before, during or after trial. The majority of criminal cases terminate when a criminal / accused accepts a plea alleged by the prosecution. In a plea accused chooses to plead guilty before trial Court to the charged offense(s), or to lesser charges in exchange for a more lenient sentence or the withdrawal or dismissal of related charges by prosecution.
1. Registration of case
Normally a criminal case begins with registration of a criminal case. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 provides two different steps to move the criminal machinery of the state into motion i.e by Registration of a First Information Report (FIR) under section 154 Cr.P.C or Filing of a Direct Complaint before the court of Magistrate under section 200 Cr.P.C, you may see these section in detail in the Code.
2. Arrest or Bail
Criminal prosecution typically begins with an arrest by a police officer or surrender of accused before court for bail or appearance on bail by police in bailable offences. A police officer may arrest a person if (1) the officer observes the person committing a crime; (2) the officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by that person; in a cognizable offence or (3) the officer makes the arrest under the authority of a valid arrest warrant in a non-cognizable offence. In certain cases, the accused is taken into custody prior to registration of FIR under memo of arrest. In these cases police can keep custody for not more than 24 hours as provided under section 61 Cr.P.C. If the offender has been booked in a bailable case then police can take bail and direct accused to appear before the concerned court. In Non bailable case, the accused shall be kept in custody and produced before the court under section 167 Cr.P.C for the purpose of remand to police or judicial custody.
Bail means to release the accused from custody to the hand of surety for his appearance on date of hearing before the court and in case of absence of accused, the surety shall be liable to forfeiture of surety amount. As discussed above in bailable cases the police officer is authorized to take bail and direct the accused to appear before the court. However in non bailable offences/cases, the police is not authorized to take bail of the accused. Accused may approach the concerned court for bail.
Supply of documents Charge etc
When accused is produced before the court having jurisdiction of trial of the offence, the court shall provide documents to enable accused to reply the charge framed by the court in consideration of the record/investigation conducted by police. Where accused admits the plea of his guilt then the court may record conviction or to proceed for recording evidence in serious cases.
Where court issues summons to prosecution / witnesses to prove the allegations leveled against accused. the prosecution have to adduce sufficient evidence and produce the document necessary for recording conviction to accused by the court. The court may also hear the accused under section 342 Cr.P.C in view of evidence recorded by the prosecution. If accused is willing to act as witness in his defence or produce defence witnesses the court shall also examine accordingly. After close of evidence of both sides the court may hear arguments of the parties.
Acquittal/stop proceedings
In the cases where there are no chances of conviction or charge becomes groundless, the court may record acquittal of accused at any stage. In Magistrate courts, there is also provision of stopping proceedings under section 249 Cr.P.C in case where there is no change of the case to be proceeded in absence of witnesses, in such case the accused is discharged but not acquitted.
After hearing both parties, the court has to pass judgment keeping in view the evidence and record. Where prosecution has proved its case beyond shadow of reasonable doubt, the court may record conviction and in other cases, the court may record acquittal.
a. An individual convicted of a crime may ask that his or her case be reviewed by a higher court, that is called appeal against conviction.
b. Where accused is acquitted, then aggrieved party/state/prosecution has also been given right to challenge the judgement of acquittal under section 417 Cr.P.C before the High court.
c. In case of conviction, the prosecution has also been authorized to challenge the conviction for enhancement of quantum of conviction or nature of sentence in revisional jurisdiction of the higher court under section 439 and 439-A Cr.P.C.


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آپ کی رائے
I disagree with my learned scholar regarding grant of bail u/s 497 CrPC.

Under 497 SHO can take bail subject to fulfillment of some conditions.

The relevant provision is hereby reproduced as under.
497. When bail may be taken in case of non­bailable offence.­(1) When any person accused of any
non­bailable offence is arrested or detained without warrant by an officer in charge of a police station, or
appears or is brought before a Court, he may be released on bail, but he shall not be so released if there
appear reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of
2[an offence punishable with death or
3[imprisonment for life or imprisonment for ten years]]:
[Provided that the Court may direct that any person under the age of sixteen years 5
[or any woman] or
any sick or infirm person accused of such an offence be released on bail [ : ]
Provided further that where a woman accused of an offence is refused bail under the foregoing proviso,
she shall be released on bail if she has been detained for a continuous period of six months and whose trial
for such offence has not been concluded, unless the court is of the opinion that the delay in the trial of the
accused has been occasioned by an act or omission of the accused or any other person acting on her behalf.
5[Provided further that the Court shall, except where it is of the opinion that the delay in the trial of the
accused has been occasioned by an act or omission of the accused or any other person acting on his behalf,
direct that any person shall be released on bail—
(a) Who, being accused of any offence not punishable with death, has been detained for such
offence for a continuous period exceeding one year or in case of a woman exceeding six months
and whose trial for such offence has not concluded; or
(b) Who, being accused of an offence punishable with death, has been detained for such offence for
a continuous period exceeding two years and in case of woman exceeding one year and whose
tiral for such offence has not concluded:
Provided further that the provisions of the foregoing proviso shall not apply to a previously convicted
offender for an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life or to a person who, in the opinion of
the court, is a hardened, desperate or dangerous criminal or is accused of an act of terrorism punishable with
death or imprisonment for life.]
(2) If it appears to such officer or Court at any stage of the investigation, inquiry or trial, as the case may
be, that there are not reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has committed
1[a non­bailable
offence], but that there are sufficient grounds for further inquiry into his guilt, the accused shall, pending
such inquiry, be released on bail, or, at the discretion of such officer or Court, on the execution by him of a
bond without sureties for his appearance as hereinafter provided.
2[(3) An officer or a Court releasing any person on bail under sub­section (1) or sub­section (2) shall
record in writing his or its reasons for so doing.
(4) If, at any time after the conclusion of the trial of a person accused of a non­bailable offence and
before Judgment is delivered, the Court is of opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the
accused is not guilty of any such offence, it shall release the accused, if he is in custody on the execution by
him of a bond without sureties for his appearance to hear judgment delivered.]
3[(5) A High Court or Court of Session and, in the case of a person released by itself, any other Court
may cause any person who has been released under this section to be arrested and may commit him to

I am open for any further discussion.
By: Faizan Kirmani, KARACHI on Apr, 12 2018
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