Parliament on Tuesday passed the Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill, which is to amend the Criminal Code 1960, Act 29 to enable the offence of robbery to be tried either on indictment or summarily.
Robbery, under section 149 of the Criminal Code 1960, Act 29, is a first-degree felony and attracts a penalty of life imprisonment or any lesser term. As a crime that can be punished by life imprisonment, the trial must be on indictment by a judge and jury as stipulated in Article 19(2)(a) of the Constitution.
However, the general public has, in recent times, expressed dissatisfaction with the indictment processes in view of the inordinate delay it causes to the trial of robbery cases.
Considering the traumatic effect on victims of robbery, the victims naturally desire to see their tormentors dealt with expeditiously by the justice system.
The Bill is, therefore, an expression of Government's sensitivity to the complaints of the public.
A Motion for the Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill was passed after its third reading.