By Saliu Woru
My dear readers, it will interest you to note that if a prima-facie is established by the complainant against an accused person or persons, such culprit or culprits would be arrested by the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) to clear himself of the allegation; suffice to say that an arrested person is expected to be treated with absolute courtesy by the Investigative Police Officer (IPO). In a nutshell, the investigator should not be biased and must give a fair hearing to the arrested person. For the avoidance of doubt, the accused must be allowed to state his own side of the story as he wishes to do, where he mention his witness or witnesses, the IPO must ensure that the statements of an accused person is recorded in accordance with the Judge’s rules.
In other word, statements of the accused must be recorded by the investigator having administered word of caution. That is to say, he is not obliged to say anything on the allegation leveled against him by the complainant, unless he or she wishes to do so, and that such statements may be used against him in the court of law or as the case may be. A confessionary statement made by the accused must be devoid of threat, inducement or made under any duress what-so-ever. A confessional statement made by an accused person must be made voluntarily and willingly. Before recording as accused statement, the IPO is expected to read the word of caution to the accused person who is required by the law to sign it or thumb print it as may be applicable. An accused person can denied making statements but this cannot be helpful to him during the trial.
Having recorded the statements, the Investigating Police Officer is required by law to read over the statements to the maker (accused) in any language that he understood who thereafter thumb print or sign the statement as been a true version of what he said, while the investigator is required by law to counter-sign the statement.