Is summary trial of copyright crimes consistent with right to fair hearing?

Nkem Itanyi, Ndubuisi Anya

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Abstract

Copyright is listed in the exclusive legislative list1 in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)2. Accordingly, relevant statutes vest original jurisdiction over copyright matters in the Federal High Court3. The Federal High Court Act provides that the Federal High Court should adopt summary trial in all criminal proceedings before it4. Thus, persons accused of criminal infringement of copyright are tried summarily at the Federal High Court. Meanwhile, Section 36(6)(a) and (b) of the Constitution guarantees the right of every person charged with a criminal offence to prompt and detailed information on the nature of the offence against him and the right to be given adequate time and facility for the preparation of his defence. This paper contends that summary trial of persons accused of copyright crimes at the Federal High Court is inconsistent with these constitutionally guaranteed rights to fair hearing. The paper recommends amendments to the law to enable the trial of copyright offences to be by information.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalInternational Journal of Private Law
Volume8
Issue number3/4
Early online date13 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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