This article on the various stages to search for evidence under the Cameroonian Criminal law. It also dwells on how evidence is being done under Cameroonian criminal law. Therefore we are going to be answering specific research question 3 and specific objective 3
3.1 Police Investigation.
A judicial police officer may in the course of an Investigation question any person whose is likely to lead to the discovery of truth, the person summon for questioning shall appear and answer any question,and if he fails to appear, the judicial police officer (JPO). The JPO shall inform the state counsel who may issued a writ of capias against him, such person shall be brought before the state council.
A Judicial police officer may conduct the search of a house and make seizure in accordance with the provision of Section 93 and Section 100 of the criminal procedure code. Persuant to Section 119, any person capable of assisting him in any given phase of Investigation make request inviting fir transportation with immediate effect in any private or public road. However, in cases of felony and misdemeanors punishable with at least 2years imprisonment, the JPO may on a written authorization of the state council in the course of Investigation, record or transcript all correspondences sent by means of telecommunication, take any photograph at private premises. Any one heard as a witness or a person viciously liable, may not in circumstance be subject to remand under the custody
3.1.1 Search And Seizure Shall Be Carried Out By Police officers who possess search warrant
The police officer may act without search warrant in cases of felony and misdemeanors. Any search or seizure shall be Carried out in the presence of the occupant of the place and the person in possession of the object to be seized, in case of their absence, their representatives as well as two witnesses chosen from among the neighbor’s presence. Also, in the absence of the occupant, their representatives shall have the right to search the JPO before they commence the search. He shall be informed of the right and mentioned of it in the report if their fulfillment. Moreover, in the absence of the occupant and in case of urgency, the state may in writing authorize the JPO to conduct the search in the presence of the witness and other judicial police officers or two judicial agents
3.1.2 Absence Of Search Warrant.
In the absence of a search warrant secretary and seizures of exhibit may be Carried out only with the concern of the occupant or of the person in possession of the object to be seized. The concern shall be a written declaration sign by the person concern and if he cannot sign, he can make thumbprint at the bottom of the declaration. Any police officer conducting a search in connection with a specific offense may carry out seizure in connection with another offense only if attract an imprisonment sentence. All items seize shall be shown to the suspect or if he is not, it should be shown to it representative so that he may identify them where he refuses to do so, then it shall be made in report.
According to Section 96 all articles seized shall in any case shown to the witnesses in order that they may identify them if necessary. When JPO conducts he alone shall have the right to examine the content of the document found in before they are seized, he shall therefore be bound by professional secrecy.
The report on the search seizure shall be drawn in accordance with Section 90 of the criminal procedure code which explains that it shall be signed by the occupant of the place and the person in possession of articles. The report shall state, statute, names of parents, date and place of birth as well as the permanent address of the signatories. In accordance with Section 99 of the criminal procedure code no search may be conducted on a private house between 6pm and 6am, however a search already begun may continue after 6pm on the authorization of the the state counsel. In case of impossibility of getting in touch with the state council the JPO may exceptionally continue with the search after 6pm and shall keep the state counsel informed without delay. Failure to comply with this shall render the search and seizure null and void
3.2 Felony And Misdemeanor Committed flagrante Delicto
Felony and misdemeanor are deemed to be committed flagrante Delicto when they are in the course of being committed or when they have just been committed. Felony and misdemeanor shall committed flagrante Delicio when after the commission of the offense, the suspect is caught in possession of article. Also there shall be a flagrante delicto where a person request a state council or a JPO to investigate a felony or misdemeanor committed in house he occupied.A JPO informed of a felony committed flagrante delicto shall inform the state council immediately and notice given through a phone or orally shall be confirmed in writing within 48hours of the oral message. The JPO without delay visit the place where the felony was committed and shall take the necessary steps and also prevent persons likely to supply information from the place without his permission will be subject for punishment provided in the penal code for defaulting witness, to also ensure the preservation of evidence that may be use fir the discovery of the truth and to seize any item or document which appears to be the product of the felony
However, articles which are not useful for revealing the truth shall after the written approval of the state counsel be returned by the JPO to the owner and a report of return shall be drawn
3.2.1 Search In Advocate’s Chamber
Search in advocate’s Chamber shall be conducted only for the purposes of seizing documents where objects are unrelated to the practice of his profession. The search shall be conducted by the competent law of the legal department in the presence of the advocate and the President of bar counsel or his representative. It shall be conducted under considerations which safeguard professional secrecy and maintain the dignity of the advocate and failure to comply with this provisions shall be rendered null void
3.2.2 Search In The Office a physician
A public notray or other person bound by professional secrecy shall be conducted in the presence of a competent magistrate and of the representative of his professional organization. Except for the purpose of the investigation any person who without authorization if the suspect of his counsel receives the documents seized in the course of q search warrant reviews the content to a person not qualify to have knowledge of same shall be subject to the punishment provided in the penal code for bridge of secrecy.
In case of felony committed flagrante delitio the state council shall be competent to carry out Investigation. When the state council arrived at the sciene of the commission of the offense, the power of the JPO to carry out Investigation shall seize immediately unless the state counsel declared otherwise. The state counsel may issue a search warrant or arrest against any person suspected or having participated in the commission of a felony shall interrogate him on the spot upon his arrival. He may institute criminal procedure only after preliminarily inquiry. The suspect arrested shall be brought by the JPO before the state council to check his identity, interrogating and if he decides to prosecute shall place him under temporary detention or release him on bill. And the state counsel shall make a report on the measures he has taken and where he intends to prosecute him
3.3 Investigation Of Police Officers On Their Own Initiative
JPO and agent shall carry out Investigation on their own Initiative as soon as investigations are open. The JPO under penalty of nullity informs the suspect of his rights to counsel, his right to remain silent. JPO while conducting Investigation have the power to make preliminary investigations search and seizure to examine the content of the document before it been seized. At the close of the Investigation, the suspect who has no residence or or who cannot fulfill any of the convictions above shall be arrested and taken before the state council if there is a strong corroborating evidence against him. A suspect who fulfils one of the condition shall be released on bail
3.4 Police Custody
Police custody is a measure for purposes of criminal Investigation and the establishment of truth. A suspect is detained in a police officer cell where ramain for a limited period available to and under the responsibility of a JPO except in cases where there is a strong corroborating evidence exist against him, the person may not be remanded in police custody and no person will be remanded in a police custody for purposes of criminal Investigation without the written approval of the state council. Where a judicial police officer intends to remand a suspect in police custody, he shall inform him of the ground for suspicion and invite him to give any explanation he deem necessary, the time allowed for remand shall not exceed 48hours renewable once, with the written approval of the state counsel shall exceptionally extended twice and reasons shall be given in each extension. Except in cases of felonies and misdemeanors committed slagrante delicio remand in police custody shall not be ordered on Saturdays Saturdays, Sundays and on public holidays. However it may be extended.
The period of police custody shall ustart to run from the time the suspect present himself or he is brought to the police station or Gerndamarie brigade, the time of his arrival at the station shall be mentioned in the station diary and in the police report, the suspect shall informed of the allegations against him and shall be treated humanly both morally and materially. The suspect shall be given time to rest in the course of Investigation and the period of rest shall be mentioned in the police report, also the suspect shall not be subject to any physical or mental torture or violence or threats. The person on remand may be at any time within the period of detention and during working hours be visited by his counsel, members of his family and by any other person following up his treatment. While in detention, the state shall be responsible for feeding persons remanded in police custody and therefore, such members shall rights to receive from members of their families or from their friends the means of substance and other necessary. Also, persons remanded in police custody may at any moment be examined by the state counsel of his own motion, such medical officer may be assisted by another chosen by the person on remand at his own extends and such medical examination shall be Carried out within 24hours after the request.
3.5 Visit To Locus In Quo
The examining magistrate may visit any area within his jurisdiction to carry out all measures of Investigation necessary for the discovery of truth. He may also visit areas outside his jurisdiction after having notify the state counsel of the area concerned. The examining magistrate shall read a letter other documents found on the premises deside on which article and document to seize. The owner or person’s in possession of documents seized may at their request and extense obtain copies. However, any person laying claim to the articles and documents seized may file his claim before the examining magistrate who shall after the submission of the state counsel deside on ruling not subject to appeal and serve on parties
The examining magistrate may summon any person whose testimony may in his opinion be relevant. However, in the false majeure which shall be duly recorded in the report, there shall be confrontation between the witnesses the defendant. Witnesses shall be summoned by a process of the bailiff where the witness does not speak one of the official languages which the registrar and examining magistrate understands, shall call on the services of an interpreter. The interpreter shall not be less than 21years of age. However, the registrar, witnesses and the parties shall not perform the function of an interpreter. The interpreter shall take oath to give a true interpretation of the statement of any person who speaks in different languages or dialects. The witness shall with head uncovered and his bare right hand race, take the following oath (I swear to speak the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth). The examining shall ask the witness his full name, age, civil and place of residence. The questions and their answers shall be written down in their report. Children below 14years of age shall not give evidence on oath. If the witness summon does not appear, the examining magistrate may issued a bench warrant against him without prejudice to the provision of Section 173 of the penal code. Every witness shall entitle to an allowance in accordance with the regulations in force.
3.7 Expert Opinion
Where a technical problem arises in the course of preliminary inquiry the examining magistrate may of his own motion or on the application of any of the party including the insurer and liability where necessary makes an order for expert opinion and appoint one more expert. Where the application for expert opinion is not granted, the examining magistrate shall give a reasonable decision. However, where an expert refuses to give his opinion the examining magistrate shall by a reason replace him. The condition of enrollment of expert striking them off the list and revision of the list fixt by degree. As long as his name has not been struck off the national list, an expert shall not be required to take oath each time he is commissioned. The expert whose does not appear on the national list, shall take provided in Section 204 of the criminal procedure code (CPC) before the examining magistrate when they are commissioned. Failure to do so shall render their report null void. The report on the oath shall be signed by the examining magistrate and the registrar. Where an expert can not take the oath ceremony, he shall do so by writing document which shall be put in the case file. Any expert who fails to summit his report within the prescribe time limit may after a reminder from the competent examining magistrate will be immediately replace. I such a case he shall give an account of Investigation which he had already carried out. He may addition, at the instance of the legal department be prosecuted under Section 174 of the penal code. The expert shall carry out his mission in close cooperation with the examining magistrate or the commission magistrate. He shall keep such magistrate informed of the the process of his Investigation in order to enable him at all time take necessary measures. There shall be no violation of the right of defense where an order of the examining magistrate extends the mission of the expert to fresh fact likely to justify the preferry of an additional count. Where there is more than one expert, they shall summit a joint report if they have different opinions, each of them shall his separately in the same report.
3.8 Remand In Custody
Remand in custody shall be and exceptional measure which shall not be Ordered except in the case of felony and misdemeanor. It shall be necessary for the preservation of evidence, the maintenance of public order, protection of life and prosperity or to ensure the appearance of an accuse before the court. A remand warrant shall in addition to the requirement specify the period of it validity, a remand warrant shall be prepared in duplicate. The original and the copy of warrant shall be sent for execution to the superintendent of the prison who shall keep the copy in the destinies file and immediately return the original to the examining magistrate with a statement that it has been executed. The examining magistrate shall specify a period of remand in custody in the remand warrant. It shall not exceed 6months. However, such period may be by reason ruling of the examining magistrate be extended for at most 12months in the case of a felony and 6months in the case of a misdemeanor. Upon expiry of the period of validity of warrant, the examining magistrate shall under pain of disciplinary action against him, order the immediate release on bail of the defendant unless he is determined for other reasons
The examining magistrate may at any time before the close of the preliminary inquiry and of his own motion, withdraw the remand and grant bail. Where bail is not granted as of right, or by the examining magistrate or his own motion it may be granted in the application of the defendant or his counsel after the the submission of the state counsel. When the defendant enters into a recognizance to appear before the examining magistrate, wherever convained and undertakes to inform the latter of his movement.