Crimes and Justice
Series 1: CRIME and OFFENCES
A crime is an offence against a public law. This word generally includes all offences but in its limited sense. It is confined to felony. In the same line, Crimes can only be identified except where it is being well defined.
Offences are the doings which a penal law had forbidden to be done, or omitting to do what the penal law commands. In this sense, it is nearly synonymous with crime yet it is not indictable but punishable summarily by the forfeiture of a penalty.
Crimes are defined as well as punished by statutes and by the common law.
Most common law offences are known and as precisely ascertained yet from the difficulty of determining exactly every acts that are punishable. The preserving principle has been adopted, that “all immoral acts which tend to the prejudice of the community are punishable by courts of justice”.
Worthy to note, the regulating Laws on Crimes in the Federal Republic of Nigeria majorly are the Criminal code act which is applicable in the Southern parts of the Country and the Penal Code act that is applicable in the Northern parts of the Country.
Crimes are mala in se, or bad in themselves; and these include: all offences against the moral law;
or they are mala prohibita i.e bad and prohibited because it is against sound policy.
Crimes may be classed into such as they affect:
1) Religion and Public Worship: like blasphemy, etc
2) The Sovereign Power: like treason, perjury, etc
3) The Currency: like counterfeiting or impairing, etc
4) Public Justice: like Bribery of judges or jurors, or receiving the bribe, Perjury, Prison breaking, etc
5) Public Peace: like Riots, touts and unlawful assemblies, Libels, etc
6) Public Trade: like Cheats. Forestalling. Engrossing, etc
7) Chastity: like Sodomy. Adultery. Bigamy, etc
8) Decency and Morality: like Public indecency. Drunkenness, etc
9) Public Police and Economy: like Common nuisances. vagrancy, and beggary, etc
10) Public Policy: like Gambling, illegal lotteries, etc
11) Individuals: like Mayhem, Rape, Poisoning with intent to murder, Abduction, etc
12) Private Property: like Burglary, Arson, Robbery. Forgery, Counterfeiting, etc
13) The public, individuals, or their property, according to the intent of the criminal: Conspiracy.
In determining liability of a crime; except where the act or ommision had occurred independently or as of natural cause, Motive would always serve as connection in ascertaining the liability of ones act or ommision.
Most legal systems require that the accused person should exhibit mens rea, ‘a guilty mind’ as well as having carried out the actus reus, “being the physical committed act”.
These are just the author’s opinion on the written article and will not be liable for any inconsistency therewith.
My references are;
The Criminal Code Act, LFRN 1990
The Penal Code Act, LFRN 1990
Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856
SAHEED, Afeez Ayinde
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