EFFECT OF PLEA OF GUILTY
DURU v. FRN (2020) LPELR-50099In a criminal proceeding, upon the arraignment of a defendant and when the Court is satisfied or unequivocally assured that the defendant understands the charge/information read over and explained to him, he (the defendant) has the right to make a plea to the charge. Such defendant can choose to plead guilty or plead not guilty.
Where the defendant pleads not guilty, such defendant is deemed to have put himself to trial. See Section 273 ACJA. This includes the usual processes or procedure of a full trial – the Prosecution opening its case and the defendant making the necessary defence, calling of witnesses, tendering of evidence, and so on.
However, where a defendant pleads guilty to an offence with which he is charged, the Court shall inter alia record his plea and invite the Prosecution to state the facts of the case. See Section 274(1) ACJA.
The invitation of the Prosecution to state and summarize the facts of the case is not synonymous to making a testimony before the Court. Thus, in the case of DURU v. FRN (2020) LPELR-50099, the Court maintained the position in the following words:
“The counsel stating the facts of the case and tendering documents in support of the facts cannot be equated to being a witness in the matter since the effect of the appellant had pleaded guilty is that it obviated the need for a formal hearing”.
KEY WORDS: Arraignment, Charge, Information, Plea of guilty.
OKWUSIDI v. LAUTECH (2012) All FWLR (Pt. 632) 1771It remains a well-known and widely accepted principle of law that parties are bound by the terms and conditions of their contract. A contract of employment binds both the employer and the employee in all circumstances expressly mentioned; both parties are also bound by the terms and conditions inherent.
Thus, any action whatsoever to be taken by either parties must not run contrary to the provisions of the contractual terms. In this sense, an employee’s contract of employment can only be validly terminated if same is in line with the contractual terms as executed by them.
So, should there be any question as to whether an employee’s contract was wrongfully terminated, recourse must first of all be made to the terms and conditions of such contract. By the decision of the Court in OKWUSIDI v. LAUTECH (supra), the same principle extends to computation of damages accruing to an employee whose contract has been wrongfully terminated.
KEY WORDS: Contract of employment, termination of contract, computation of damages.
Wale Toheeb Adeagbo
Head, Litigaship Series
Law Axis 360°