Indictments Act

Link to law: http://www.moj.gov.jm/laws/indictments-act
Published: 1903-08-01

INDICTMENTS 1

THE INDICTMENTS ACT cap 158.
Act

42 of 1%9
[Ist December, 1921.l 3rd-

1. This Act may be cited as the Indictments Act.

2. In this Act- Interpreta-

Short titlc.

tion.
“the Court” means the Court before which any indictable

“rule” means a rule made under this Act.
offence is tried or prosecuted;

3. The rules contained in the Schedule with respect to ~ u i e s i n
indictments shall have effect as if enacted in this Act, but
those rules may be added to, varied, or annulled by further 4211969
rules made by the Rules Committee of the Supreme Court
pursuant to section 4 of the Judicature (Rules of Court) Act.

Schedule.

3rd Sch.

4.-(1) Every indictment shall contain, and shall be Indictmmta.
sufficient if it contains, a statement of the specific 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 not, subject to the provisions of this Act,
be open to objection in respect of its form or contents if it
is framed in accordance with the rules.

5. Subject to the provisions of the rules, charges for Procedure
felonjes

with respect 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

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2 INDICTMENTS

and the person accused shall have the same right of chal-
lenging jurors as if all the offences charged in the indict-
ment were felonies.

Amendment 6.-(1) Where, before trial, or at any Stage of a trial,
it appears to the Court that the indictment is defective,
the Court shall make such order for the amendment of the
indictment as the Court thinks necessary to meet the cir-
cumstances of the case, unless, having regard to the merits
of the case, the required amendments cannot be made with-
out injustice, and may make such order as to the payment
of any costs incurred owing to the necessity for amendment
as the Court thinks fit.

of indict-
mcnt.

(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
triaI and for the purposes of all proceedings in connection
therewith as having been preferred in the amended form.

(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.

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INDICTMENTS 3

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

(U) 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 costs and as
to admitting the accused person to bail, and as to
the enlargement of recognizances and otherwise
as the Court thinks fit.

(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.

7.-(1) Nothing in this Act or the rules shall affect the Jurisdiction.
law or practice relating to the jurisdiction of a court or
the place where an accused person can be tried, nor pre-
judice or diminish in any respect the obligation to establish
by evidence according to law any acts, omissions, or inten-
tions 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 Supreme Court
and inquisitions, and also to any plea, replication, or other
criminal pleading, with such modification as may be made
by the rules.

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i

4

(Section 3)

INDICTMENTS

SCHEDULE

RULES

Material, etc., r indictments-
( I ) An indictment may be on parchment or paper. and may he

either written or printed, or partly written and partly printed.

(2) Each sheet on which an indictment is set out shall be not
more than twelve and not less than six inches in length, and
not more than fourteen and not less than ten inches in width.
and if more than one sheet is required, the sheets shall be
fastened together in book-form.

(3) A proper margin not less than two inches in width shall be
kept on the left-hand side of each sheet

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

(5) There shall he endorsed on the back of an indictment the
name of every witness examined or intended to be examined.

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

2. Commencement of the indictment-
The commencement of the indictment shall be in the followmg

form-
The Queen v. A.B.

Court of trial (e.g. In the Supreme Court for Jamaica, or In the Resi-
).

It i s hereby charged on behalf of Our Sovereign Lady the Queen:
A B . is chargcd with the following offmce-

dent Magistrate’s Court for the parish of

3. Joining of charges in one indictment-Charges for any offences,
whether felonies or misdemeanours, may be joined in the same indict-
ment if those charges are founded on the same facts or form or are
a part of a series of offences of the same or similar character.

4. Mode in which offences are to be charged-
(1) A description of the offence charged in an indictment or where

more than one offence is charged in an indictment. of each
offence so charged shall be set out in the indictment in a
separate paragraph called a count.

L.N.
21011962.

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INDICTMENTS 5

(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 shorrly in
ordinary language, avoiding as far as possible the use of
technical terms, and without necessarily stating all the essen-
tial 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 offence.

(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 so required.

(5) The forms set out in the Appendix or forms conforming
thereto as nearly as may be 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 offence being
varied according to the circumstances in each case.

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

5. Provisions as to statutory offenRs-
(1) Where an enactment constituting an offence states 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 offenccs 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
qualikation to the operation of the statute creating the
offence.

6. Description of propem-
(1) The description of property in a CounI in an indictment shall

be in ordinary language and such as to indicate with reason-
able 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.

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6 INDICTMENTS

(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 p r o p e q 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”, “mmmissioners”
or “club”, or other such name, it shall he sufficient to use
b e collective name without naming any individual.

7. Description of personSThe description or designation in an
indictment of the 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 unknown”.

8. Description of document-Where it is necessaly to refer to any
document or 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.

9. Gcneral rule as to description-Subject to any other provisions
of these rules, it shall be sufficient to describe any place, time, thing,
matter, act or omission what.ocver, 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, matter, act or omission
rcferred to.

10, Statement of intent-It shall not be necessary in stating any
intent to defraud, 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 parti-
cular person an essential ingredient of the offence.

11. Charge of previous convictions, etc.-Any charge of a previous
conviction of an offence or of being a habitual criminal shall be charged
at the end of the indictment by means of a statement-in the case
of a previous conviction that the person accused has been previously
convicted of that offence at a certain time and place without stating
the particulars of the offence, and in the case of a habitual criminal,
that the offender is a habitual criminal.

12. Description of engraving-In an information or indictment for
engravings or making the whole or any part of any instrument matter
or thing whatsoever. or for using or having the unlawful possession of
any plate or other material upon which the whole or any part of any
instrument, matter or thing whatsoever, shall have been engraved or
made, or for having the unlawful possession of any paper upon which
the whole or any part of any instrument, matter or thing whatsoever,

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1NDlCTMENTS

shall have been made or printed, it shall be sufficient to describe such
instrument, matter or thing by any name or designation by which the
same may be usually known, without setting out any copy or facsimile
of the whole or any part of such instrument, matter or thing.

13. Description of money-In an information or indictment in
which it shall be necessary to make any averment as to any money,
or any note of the Bank of England, or any Bank of this Island. or
any other bank or curreucy notes of the Government of Jamaica. it
shall be sufficient to describe such money or bank or currency note
simply as money, without specifying any particular win or bank or
currency note: and such allegation, so far as regards the description of
the property, shall be sustained by proof of any amount of win, or of
any bank or currency note, although the particular species of coin of
which such amount was composed or the particular nature of the bank
or currency note shall not be proved; and in cases of embezzlement,
and obtaining money or bank or currency notes by false pretences, by
proof that the offender embezzled or obtained any piece of coin, or any
bank or currency note, or any portion of the value thereof although
such piece of coin or bank currency note may have been delivered
to him in order that some part of the value thereof should be returned
to thf party delivering the same, or to any other person, and such parr
shall have been returned accordingly.

APPENDIX TO RULES

FORMS OF INDICTMENT

Statemenr of Oflence
Murder.

Particulars of Oflence
A.B., on the d a y of , in the parish

of . murdered JS.
L.

Siatemenr of Ogence
Accessory after the fact to murder.

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a INDICTMENTS

Particulars of Oflence
A.B., well knowing that one H.C. did on the

, in the parish of
day of

, murder C.C., did
on the day of , in the parish of
and on other days thereafter receive, comfort. harbour. assist and
maintain the said H.C.

3.

Stuiement of Offence
Manslaughter.

Particulars of Offence
A.B., on the day of , in the parish

of , unlawfully killed IS.

4.

Statement of Offence
Rape.

Purticulars of Offence
A.B., on the day of , in the parish

, had carnal knowledge of E.F.. without her of
consent.

5.

Statement of Offence
First Count

Wounding with intent. contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

wounded C.D., with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, or to
maim. disfigure or disable him, or to resist the lawful apprehension
of him the said A B .

A.B.. on the day of , at

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INDICTMENTS

Statement of Ofence

Second Count
Wounding, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence
A.B., on the day of , in the parish

of , maliciously wounded C.D.

9

6.

Statement of Offence
Cruelty to a child, contrary to section.

Particulars o\ Offence

day of . at , being a person over
the age of sixteen years having the custody, charge or care of C.D..
a child, ill-treated or neglected the said child, or caused or procured
the said child to be ill-treated or neglected in a manner likely to cause
the said child unnecessary su5ering or injury to its health.

A.B., between the day of and the

7.

Statement of Offence
Larceny. contrary to section'

Particulars of Oflence

b e i i g clerk or servant to MA., stole from the said M.N. ten yards of
cloth

A.B., on the day of . at

8.

Statement of O#ence
Robbery with violence, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

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10 INDICTMENTS

A . E . . on the day of . at
robbed C.D.. of a watch, and at the time of or immediately before or
immediately after such robbery did use personal violence to the said
C.D.

9.

Statement of ODence
F i s t Count

Larceny after a previous conviction.

Pariicdars of Offence
A.E. , on the day of

stole a bag, the properly of C.D.
, at

A.B., has been previously convicted of burglary on the
day of . at

Statement of Offence
Second Count

Receiving stolen goods, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

A.B., on the day of , at
of
knowing the same to have been stolen.

, did receive a bag, the property of C.D.,

10.

Statement of Ofence
Burglary and larceny, contrary to section*

Particulars of O#ence
A B . , in the night of the day of

at , did break and enter the
dwelling-house of C.D., with intent to steal therein, and did steal
therein one watch, the property of S.T., the said watch being of the
value of twenty dollars.

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11.

Statement of Oflence
Sending threatening letter, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

sent, delivered or uttered to or caused to be received by C.D.. a letter
accusing or threatening to accuse the said C.D. of an infamous crime
with intent to extort money from the said C.D.

A.B. . on the day of , at

11

12.

Statement of Oflence
Obtairiing goods by false pretences, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

A.B., on the day of . at
, with intent to defraud obtained from S.P.,

five yards of cloth by falsely pretending that he, the said AB.. had been
sent by IS. to S.P. for the said cloth, and that he, the said A.B.. was
then authorized by the said J.S. to receive the said cloth on behalf of
the said I S .

13.

Statement of Offence

Conspiracy to defraud.

Particulars of Oflence

A.B. and C.D.. on the day of . and
day of on divers days between that day and the . at

conspired together with intent to defraud by means of an advertisement
inserted by them, the said A.B., and C.D., in the H.S. newspaper,
falsely representing that A.B. and C.D. were then carrying on a genuine
business as jewellers at
and that they were then able to supply certain articles of jewellery to
whomsoever would remit to them the sum of four dollars.

~~ ~

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12 INDZCTMENTS

14.

Stniement of Oflence
First Count

Arson, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

A . B . . on the day of , at
maliciously set fire to a dwelling-house, one F.G. being therein.

Stntement of Offence
Second Count

Arson, contrary to section*

Part icuhs of O#ence
A.B., on the day of , at

maliciously set lire to a house with intent to injure or defraud.

1s.

Statemenf of Offences
A.B., arson. contrary to section.
C.D., accessory before the fact to same o5ence.

Particulars of Offences

A B . . on the day of , at

C.D.. on the same day at
set fire to a house with intent to injure or defraud.

procure and command the said A.B. to wmmit the said offence.
, did wunscl,

16.

Statemenf of Offence
Damaging trees, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence
A B . . on the day of , in the parish

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INDICTMENTS 13

of
growing.

, maliciously damaged a cedar tree there

A.B. has been twice previously convicted of an offence under section'
, namely, at

on the day of

11.

Statement of Offence
First Count

Offence under section*

Particulars of Offence
A.B., on the day of , at

displaced a sleeper belonging to the railway,
with intent to injure or endanger the safety of persons travelling upon
the railway.

Statement of Oflence
Second Count

Obstructing railway, contrary to section'

Particulars of Offerice

A.B., on the day of , at
by unlawfully displacing a sleeper belonging to the
railway, did obstruct or cause to he obstructed an engine or carnage
using the said railway.

18.

Stafement of Oflence
First Count

Forgery, contrary to section*

Particulars of Ofence

with intent to defraud, forged a aertain will purporting to be the will
of C.D.

A.B.. on the day of . at

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14 INDICTMENTS

Starement of Offence
Second Count

Uttering forged document contrary to section'

Particulars of Offence

uttered a certain forged will purporting to be the will of C.D., knowing
the same to be forged and with intent to defraud.

A.B., on ihe day of , at

19.

Statement of Oflence
Uttering counterfeit coin, contrary to section'

Particulars of Ofence

uttered a counterfeit 25 cents, knowing the Same to be counterfeit.

20.

Statement of Oflence
Uttering a counterfeit coin contrary to section*

Parriculurs of Offence

uttered a counterfeit 20 cents knowing the same to be counterfeit.
A.B., has been previously convicted of a misdemeanour under

section' , on the day of

A.B.. on the day of . at

A.B., on the day of . at

at

21.

Srarement of Offence

Perjury.

Particulars of Uflence
A.B., on the day of . at

being a witness upon the trial of an action in the
Court o€ this Island, in which one

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. was
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INDICTMENTS 15

plaintiff. and one
falsely swore that he saw one M.N. in the street called
Street, in , on the day of
19 .

, was defendant, knowingly

22.

Siaiement of Offence
Libel.

Particulars of O#ence
A.B.. on the day of , at

published a defamatory libel, concerning E.F., in the form of a letter
(book, pamphlet, picture, or, as the case may be).

(Innuendo should be stated where necessary)

23.

Stdement of Offence
First Count

Publishing obscene libel.

Particulars of Offence

sold. uttered and published and caused or procured to be sold, uttered.
and published an ohsane libel, the paaiculars of which are deposited
with this indictment.

(Particulars to specify pages and lines complained of where
necessary, as in a hook)

E.M., on the day of . at

Statement of Offence
Second Count

Procuring obscene libel (or thing) with intent to sell or publish.

Particulars of Offence

procured an obscene libel (or thing), the particulars of which are
deposited with this indictment, with intent to sell, utter or publish
such obscene libel (or thing)

E.M., on the day of , at

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INDICTMENTS

24.

Statement of Oflences
A.B., undischarged bankrupt, obtaining credit wntrary to section.
C.D., being accessory to same offenoe.

Particulars of Oflences

being an undischarged bankrupt, obtained credit to the extent of
twenty-four dollars from H.S. without informing the said H.S. that he
then was an undischarged bankrupt.

C.D. at the same time and place did aid, abet, wunsel and procure
A.B. to wmmit the said offence.

A.B., on the day of . at

25.
Smemenr of Offence

First Count
Falsification of accounts, contrary to section'

Particulars of Oflence

being clerk or servant to C.D.. with intent to defraud, made or
concurred in making a false entry in a cash book belonging to the said
C.D.. his employer, purporting to show that on the said day $200
had been paid to L.M.

Statement of Offence
Second Count

A.B., on the day of I at

Same as first count.

Particulars of Offence

being clerk or servant to C.D., with intent to defraud. omitted or
concurred in omitting from or in a cash book belonging to the said
C.D., his employer, a material particular, that is to say, the receipt
on the said day of $100 from H.S.

A.B.. on the d a y of . at

26.

Sintement of O8ence
First Count

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INDlCTMENTS 17

Fraudulent conversion of property, contrary to section'

Particulars of Offence

fraudulently converted to his own use and benefit certain property,
that is to say $200, entrusted to him by H.S., in order that he. the
said A.B., might retain the same in safe custody.

A.B., on the day of , at

Sfatement of O#ence
Second Count

Fraudulent conversion of property, contrary to section*

Particulars of Offence

fraudulently converted to his own use and benefit certain property.
that is to say. the sum of $W, received by him for and on account
of L.M.

A.B.. on the day of , at

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