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Preliminary Inquiry and Committal for Trial

Preliminary Inquiry and Committal for Trial


(1)    Where any person is accused of an offence under Art. 522 (homicide in the first degree) or Art. 637 (aggravated robbery) a preliminary inquiry shall be held under the provisions of this Book.
Provided that nothing in this Article shall prevent the High Court from dispending with the holding of a preliminary inquiry where it is satisfied by the public prosecutor that the trial can be held immediately.
(2)    Where any person is accused of any other offence triable only by the High Court no preliminary inquiry shall be held unless the public prosecutor under Art. 38 (b) so directs.
(3)    The provisions of this Book shall not apply to offences coming within the jurisdiction of the High Court which have been committed by young persons.

Art.81.—Court having jurisdiction.

(1)    Without prejudice to the provisions of Art. 99-107, the preliminary shall be held before the Woreda Guezat Court within whose area of jurisdiction the offence was committed.


(1)    All preliminary inquiries shall be held in the manner provided by the following Articles.
(2)    An adjournment may be granted on the conditions laid down in Art. 94.

Art.83.—Opening of preliminary inquiry.

(1)    Where the public prosecutor decides under Art. 80 (2) that a preliminary inquiry shall be held, he shall send a copy of his decision to the Woreda Guezat Court having jurisdiction and, where appropriate, to the public prosecutor acting before such court.
(2)    The court shall fix the day on which the inquiry shall be held and cause to be summoned such witnesses as the prosecutor may wish to call in support of the prosecution.
(3)    The case for the prosecution shall be conducted by the public prosecutor acting before the committing court.

Art.84.—Taking evidence for prosecution.

(1)    Where the accused person appears or is brought before it, the court shall require the prosecutor to open his case and to call his witnesses.

Art.85.—Accused asked whether he wishes to make a statement.

(1)    After the witnesses for the prosecution have been heard and their evidence recorded, the court shall ask the accused whether he wishes to make a statement in answer to the charge.
(2)    He shall be informed that the preliminary inquiry does not constitute a trial and that the decision as to his guilt or innocence will be taken by the High Court and not by the committing court.
(3)    He shall be informed that he is not bound to say anything but that any statement he may wish to make will be taken down in writing and may be put in at his trial.

Art.86.—Statement of accused.

(1)    If the accused elects to make no statement, he shall forthwith be committed for trial before the High Court.
(2)    If the accused elects to make a statement, such statement shall be taken down in writing, read over to him, signed by the accused and kept in the file.

Art.87.—Additional witnesses.

The court may at any time call any witness whose testimony it thinks necessary in the interests of justice, notwithstanding that the prosecutor has not applied for such witness to be summoned.

Art.88.—Recording of evidence.

Evidence shall be recorded in accordance with Art. 147 and the evidence of each witness shall be recorded on separate sheets of paper.

Art.89.—Committal for trial.

(1)    After the statement, if any, of the accused has been taken down, the court shall commit the accused for trial before the High Court without specifying the charge or charges on which he is committed for trial.
(2)    Such charge or charges shall be specified in the charge framed by the public prosecutor in accordance with Art. 109-122 of this Code.
(3)    The court shall then require the accused to give a list of the witnesses he wishes to call at his trial together with their addresses.

Art.90.—Bond of witnesses.

(1)    All witnesses who have given evidence at the preliminary inquiry shall execute before the committing court bonds binding themselves to be in attendance before such court and on such date as they shall be summoned to appear.
(2)    Any witness who refuses to execute the bond may be kept in custody until the trial or until  he binds himself.

Art.91.—Record to be forwarded to registrar.

(1)    When the accused is committed for trial, the committing court shall send the original record and the exhibits (if any) to the registrar of the High Court. Any exhibit which from its bulk or otherwise cannot conveniently be forwarded to the registrar of the High Court may remain in the custody of the police.
(2)    A list of all exhibits showing which of them are forwarded with the record and which remain in the custody of the police shall be sent to the registrar of the High Court with the record.
(3)    The registrar of the High Court shall be responsible for making copies of the record and sending one to the public prosecutor and one to the accused.

Art.92.—Contents of record.

(1)    The record shall contain the following particulars:-
(a)    The serial number of the case; and
(b)    The date of the commission of the offence; and
(c)    The date of the accusation, if any; and
(d)    The name and address of the accuser, if any; and
(e)    The name, address occupation and age, if known, and nationality of the accused; and
(f)    The offence shown and,  where appropriation, the value of the property in respect of which or the special status of the person against whom the offence was committed; and
(g)    The date of the warrant of arrest, if any, or on which the accused was first arrested; and
(h)    The date on which the accused was first brought before a court; and
(i)    The name of the prosecutor and, where appropriate, of the advocate for the defense; and
(j)    The date of and reasons for any adjournment that may have been granted; and
(k)    The date on which the preliminary inquiry was completed; and
(l)    All statements made in the course of the preliminary inquiry, including those which may have been made by the accused; and
(m) the list of defense witnesses.

(2)    The same particulars shall appear in the copy of the proceedings sent to the public prosecutor and the accused.

Art.93.—Accused may be remanded.

Without prejudice to the provisions of this Code relating to release on ball the committing court may order that the accused be kept on remand until the trial.