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Indictments Act

Published: 1927

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Indictments (CAP. 213 1



Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.
2. Rules as to indictments.
3. Powers of rule committee.
4. General provisions as to indictments.
5. Joinder of charges in the same indictment.
6. Orders for amendment of indictment, separate trial, and

postponement of trial.
7. Savings and application.



1. This Act may be cited as the Indictments Act. Short title-

2. The rules contained in the Schedule with respect Fi;;tre:;.
to indictments shall have effkct as if enacted in this Act, but
those rules may be added to, varied, or annulled by further Schedule.
rules made by the rule committee under this Act.

3 . (1) There shall be established for the purposes of Powers of rule committee.
this Act a rule committee consisting of such persons as the
Chief Justice may appoint.


2 CAP. 213) Indictments

(2) The rule committee shall have power to make rules
Schedule. varying or annulling the rules contained in the Schedule and

to make further rules with respect to the matters dealt with
in those rules, and those rules shall have effect subject to
any modifications or additions so made.

(3) (a) Any rules made by the rule committee shall not
have any force or effect until they have been approved
by Parliament, and when so approved shall have the
same force and effect as if they were contained in an Act.

( b ) Any such rules approved as aforesaid shall come
into operation on the day appointed in such rules in
that behalf or if no day is so appointed on such day
as the Governor-General by proclamation appoints.

provisions as to

4. (1) Every indictment shall contain, and shall be
indictments. sufficient if it contains, a statement of the specific offence

or offences with which the accused person is charged, together
with such particulars as may be necessary for giving
reasonable information as to the nature of the charge.

(2) Notwithstanding any rule of law or practice, an
indictment shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, not
be open to objection in respect of its form or contents if it
is framed in accordance with the rules under this Act.

Joinder of 5 . Subject to the provisions of the rules under this
charges in the
same indictment. Act, charges for more than one felony or for more than one

misdemeanour, and charges for both felonies and
misdemeanours, may be joined in the same indictment, but
where a felony is tried together with any misdemeanour, the
jury shall be sworn and the person accused shall have the
same right of challenging jurors as if all the offences charged
in the indictment were felonies.

Orders for
amendment of

6 . (1) Where, before trial, or at any stage of a trial,
indictment, it appears to the Court that the indictment is defective, the
separate Court shall make such order for the amendment of the
postponement of indictment as the Court thinks necessary to meet the
trial. circumstances of the case, unless, having regard to the merits

of the case, the required amendments cannot be made without


Indictments (CAP. 213 3

(2) Where an indictment is so amended, a note of the
order for amendment shall be endorsed on the indictment,
and the indictment shall be treated for the purposes of the
trial and for the purposes of all proceedings in connection
therewith as having been originally presented in the amended

(3) Where, before trial, or at any stage of a trial, the
Court is of opinion that a person accused may be prejudiced
or embarrassed in his defence by reason of being charged
with more than one offence in the same indictment, or that
for any other reason it is desirable to direct that the person
should be tried separately for any one or more offences
charged in an indictment, the Court may order a separate
trial of any count or counts of such indictment.

(4) Where, before trial, or at any stage of a trial, the
Court is of opinion that the postponement of the trial of a
person accused is expedient as a consequence of the exercise
of any power of the Court under this Act to amend an
indictment or to order a separate trial of a count, the Court
shall make such order as to the postponement of the trial
as appears necessary.

(5) Where an order of the Court is made under this
section for a separate trial or for the postponement of a trial-

(a) If such an order is made during a trial the Court
may order that the jury are to be discharged from giving
a verdict on the count or counts the trial of which is
postponed or on the indictment, as the case may be; and

( b ) The procedure on the separate trial of a count
shall be the same in all respects as if the count had been
found in a separate indictment, and the procedure on
the postponed trial shall be the same in all respects (if
the jury has been discharged) as if the trial had not
commenced; and

(c) The Court may make such order as to admitting
the accused person to bail, and as to the enlargement
of recognizances and otherwise as the Court thinks fit.


4 CAP. 213) Indictments

(6) Any power of the Court under this section shall be
in addition to and not in derogation of any other power of
the Court for the same or similar purposes.

Savings and

7. (1) Nothing in this Act or the rules thereunder shall
affect the law or practice relating to the jurisdiction of a Court
or the place where an accused person can be tried, nor
prejudice or diminish in any respect the obligation to establish
by evidence according to law any acts, omissions, or
intentions which are legally necessary to constitute the offence
with which the person accused is charged, nor otherwise affect
the laws of evidence in criminal cases.

(2) The provisions of this Act relating to indictments
shall apply to criminal informations in the High Court and
inquisitions, and also to any plea, replication, .or other
criminal pleading, with such modifications as may be made
by rules under this Act.



short title. 1. These rules may be cited as the Indictment Rules.

Material, etc., 2. (1) An indictment may be on parchment or paper, and
for indictment. may be either written or type-written or printed, or partly written

and/or partly type-written and/or partly printed.

(2) Figures and abbreviations may be used in an indictment
for expressing anything which is commonly expressed thereby.

(3) An indictment shall not be open to objection by reason
only of any failure to comply with this rule.

Commencement 3. (1) The commencement of the indictment shall be in
of the indictment. the following form-

The Queen v A. B.

In the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

Antigua and Barbuda Circuit.


Indictments (CAP. 213 5

A. B. is charged with the following offence [offences] -

(2) In the case of a criminal information the words Criminal
Information by the Director of Public Prosecutions shall be
substituted for Indictment by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

4. Charges for any offences, whether felonies or Joining pf
rnisdemeanours may be joined in the same indictment if those ~ , h ~ f ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ t . O n e
charges are founded on the same facts, or form or are a part of
a series of offences of the same or a similar character.

5 . (1) A description of the offence charged in an indict- Mode in which
rnent, or where more than one offence is charged in an indictment, :;ft:ic,ed~. are to be
of each offence so charged, shall be set out in the indictment in
a separate paragraph called a count.

(2) A count of an indictment shall commence with a statement
of the offence charged, called the statement of offence.

(3) The statement of offence shall describe the offence shortly
in ordinary language, avoiding as far as possible the use of technici
terms, and without necessarily statine all the essential elements -
of the offence, and if the offence charged is one created by statute,
shall contain a reference to the section of the statute creating the

(4) After the statement of the offence, particulars of such
offence shall be set out in ordinary language, in which the use
of technical terms shall not be necessary:

Provided that where any rule of law or any statute limits the
particulars of an offence which are required to be given in an
indictment, nothing in this rule shall require any more particulars
to be given than those so required.

(5) The forms set out in the appendix to the rules contained
in the First Schedule to the Indictments Act (Imperial) 1915, or
forms conforming thereto as nearly as may be mutatis mutandis shall
be used in cases to which they are applicable, and in other cases
forms to the like effect or conforming thereto as nearly as may
be shall be used, the statement of offence and the particulars of
o f h c e being varied according to the circumstances in each case.

(6) Where an indictment contains more than one count the
counts shall be numbered consecutively.


6 CAP. 213) Indictments

Provisions as to 6 . (1) Where an enactment constituting an offence states
offences. the offence to be the doing or the omission to do any one of any

different acts in the alternative, or the doing or the omission to
do any act in any one of any different capacities, or with any
one of any different intentions, or states any part of the offence
in the alternative, the acts, omissions, capacities, or intentions,
or other matters stated in the alternative in the enactment, may
be stated in the alternative in the count charging the offence.

(2) It shall not be necessary, in any count charging a statutory
offence, to negative any exception or exemption from or qualifica-
tion to the operation of the statute creating the-offence.

Description of 7. (1) The description of property in a count in an indict-
property. ment shall be in ordinary language and such as to indicate with

reasonable clearness the property referred to, and if the property
is so described it shall not be necessary (except when required
for the purpose of describing an offence depending on any special
ownership of property or special value of property) to name the
person to whom the property belongs, or the value of the property.

(2) Where property is vested in more than one person, and
the owners of the property are referred to in an indictment it shall
be sufficient to describe the property as owned by one of those
persons by name with others, and if the persons owning the
property are a body of persons with a collective name, such as
"Inhabitants", "Trustees", "Commissioners", or "Club", or
other such name, it shall be sufficient to use the collective name
without naming any individual. Any property of the Government
may be described as "the property of Her Majesty."

Description of 8. The description or designation in an indictment of the
persons. accused person, or of any other person to whom reference is made

therein, shall be such as is reasonably sufficient to identify him,
without necessarily stating his correct name, or his abode, style,
degree, or occupation; and if, owing to the name of the person
not being known, or for any other reason, it is impracticable to
give such a description or designation such description or
designation shall be given as is reasonably practicable in the
circumstances, or such person may be described as "a person

Description of 9. Where it is necessary to refer to any document or
document. instrument in an indictment, it shall be sufficient to describe it

by any name or designation by which it is usually known, or by
the purport thereof, without setting out any copy thereof.


Indictments (CAP. 213 7

10. Subject to any other provisions of these rules, it shall General rules as
be sufficient to describe any place, time, thing, matter, act, or to description'
omission whatsoever to which it is necessary to refer in any
indictment, in ordinary language in such a manner as to indicate
with reasonable clearness the place, time, thing, matter, act or
omission referred to.

11. It shall not be necessary in stating any intent to defraud, Statement of
deceive or injure to state an intent to defraud, deceive or injure
any particular person where the statute creating the offence does
not make an intent to defraud, deceive or injure a particular person
an essential ingredient bf the offence.

12. Any charge of a previous conviction of an offence shall Fgv;~u;f
be charged at the end of the indictment by means of a statement, con,;,t;ons, .,,.
that the person accused has been previously convicted of that offence
at a certain time and place without stating the particulars of the

13. It shall be the duty of the Registrar to supply to the Duty to furnish
accused person, on request, a copy of the indictment free of charge. ~ ~ $ ~ c $ e n t ~

14. The Interpretation Act, applies for the interpretation g';?:;Yion.
of these rules as it applies for the interpretation of any law.