INITIATION OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AND
COMPLAINT TO MAGISTRATE
COMPLAINT TO MAGISTRATE
150. Criminal proceedings against any person may be initiated pursuant to an arrest, a summons, an arrest warrant, a notice to attend court or any other mode for compelling the attendance of a person in court which is provided for under this Code or any other written law, as the case may be.
—(1) Any person may make a complaint to a Magistrate.
(2) On receiving a complaint by a person who is not a police officer nor an officer from a law enforcement agency nor a person acting with the authority of a public body, the Magistrate —
must immediately examine the complainant on oath and the substance of the examination must be reduced to writing and must be signed by the complainant and by the Magistrate; and
may, after examining the complainant —
for the purpose of inquiring into the case himself, issue a summons to compel the attendance before him of any person who may be able to help him determine whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding with the complaint;
direct any police officer to make inquiries for the purpose of ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the complaint and report to the Magistrate the result of those inquiries;
postpone consideration of the matter to enable the complainant and the person complained against to try to resolve the complaint amicably.
—(1) After examining the complainant under section 151(2)(a), and making any inquiry under section 151(2)(b)(i) or considering the result of any inquiry under section 151(2)(b)(ii), the Magistrate may dismiss the complaint if he decides that there is insufficient reason to proceed.
(2) Where in relation to any complaint, the Magistrate or a police officer has referred any case for mediation under section 15 of the Community Mediation Centres Act or under section 16(1)(c), respectively, and the complainant has failed or refused to attend the mediation session, the Magistrate may dismiss the complaint if the complainant does not provide reasonable grounds for such failure or refusal.
(3) If the Magistrate dismisses the complaint, he must record his reasons.
—(1) A Magistrate must issue a summons for the attendance of an accused if —
he finds sufficient reason to proceed with a complaint made by a person who is not a police officer nor an officer from a law enforcement agency nor a person acting with the authority of a public body;
he finds sufficient reason to proceed with a complaint made by a police officer, an officer from a law enforcement agency or a person acting with the authority of a public body, and the complaint is written and signed by that officer or person;
he knows or suspects that an offence has been committed; or
the accused is brought before the court in custody without process and is accused of having committed an offence which the court has jurisdiction to inquire into or try,
and the case appears to be one in which, according to the fourth column of the First Schedule, the Magistrate should first issue a summons.
(2) In determining whether there is sufficient reason to proceed under subsection (1)(a), the Magistrate shall take into account whether the accused has failed or refused to attend any mediation session when the Magistrate has proceeded in accordance with section 15 of the Community Mediation Centres Act (Cap. 49A) or when a police officer has referred the case to a mediator for mediation under section 16(1)(c), and if so, whether the accused had any reasonable grounds for such failure or refusal.
(3) If the case appears to be one in which, according to the fourth column of the First Schedule, the Magistrate should first issue a warrant, he may do so or, if he thinks fit, issue a summons causing the accused to be brought or to appear at a certain time before a Magistrate’s Court.
(4) If the accused fails or refuses to attend any mediation session without providing reasonable grounds for such failure or refusal, the Magistrate may take such failure or refusal into consideration when issuing any further order or direction as the Magistrate deems fit, or when sentencing the accused.
(5) This section does not affect section 120.
—(1) A Magistrate issuing a summons may dispense with the personal attendance of the accused and permit him to appear by an advocate.
(2) In any case relating to an offence punishable by fine only or by imprisonment for 12 months or less, or both, and in which a Magistrate has issued a summons, an accused who wishes to plead guilty and be convicted and sentenced in his absence may —
appear by an advocate; or
by letter plead guilty and agree to pay any fine that may be imposed for that offence.
(3) In the case where the accused pleads guilty by letter, the court may record a plea of guilty, convict him according to law, and sentence him to a fine with or without a sentence of imprisonment if he fails to pay the fine.
(4) If the accused pleads guilty by letter, he must state in the letter a postal address.
(5) Notwithstanding section 3, the court must then send, by registered post using the particulars stated under subsection (4), a letter informing the accused of the sentence imposed.
(6) The accused must pay the fine within 7 days from the date on which the court’s letter was posted or transmitted.
(7) The court inquiring into or trying the case may at any stage of the proceeding direct the accused to attend in person, and if necessary may enforce his attendance in the way set out in section 153.
(8) If the court intends to impose a sentence of imprisonment without the option of a fine, it must require the accused to attend in person.
(9) If the accused wishes to withdraw his plea of guilty and claim trial when he appears pursuant to subsection (8), then the court must, notwithstanding any order of conviction made in his absence permit him to withdraw his plea and then hear and determine the case, and if the court convicts him, pass sentence according to law.
(10) Nothing in this section shall affect the powers of the court conferred by section 156.
156. If ––
an accused does not appear at the time and place mentioned in the summons or notice to attend court and it appears to the court on oath that the summons or notice was duly served a reasonable time before the time appointed in it for appearing; and
no sufficient ground is shown for an adjournment,
the court may either proceed ex parte to hear and determine the complaint or may postpone the hearing to a future day.