About the NPA
Prosecution is the core function of the NPA
Section 179(2) of the Constitution empowers the National Prosecuting Authority to institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the State and to carry out any necessary functions incidental to instituting criminal proceedings.
The Core Prosecution Work
In the criminal justice system, the NPA plays a vital role in preparing and conducting criminal prosecutions. Prosecution is the core function of the NPA, which is initiated by police investigations. This information is provided to prosecutors in police cases. Next, one of four steps are taken:
- Abandon prosecution without further action.
- Ask the police to investigate the case further.
- Avoid prosecution and choose alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Initiate criminal proceedings by drafting an indictment against the accused.
If the decision is made to prosecute, dependent on the severity of the alleged criminal offence, the police docket is transferred to prosecutors’ office in the district or district court where the criminal offence occurred or the pertinent Higher Court.
Prosecutors will determine whether the alleged illegal act is a criminal offence and whether the suspect has been correctly identified based on presented evidence. At their first appearance, a defendant is asked to plead to the charge/s.
The prosecution presents its case, leads witnesses for the prosecution and the evidence against the defendant. The defence then presents it case in rebuttal, including its own witnesses. Prosecutors and defence lawyers are allowed to question opposing witnesses.
If the prosecution proves to the court that the defendant is guilty without reasonable doubt, the court finds for the prosecution and announces the defendant guilty. The proceedings move on to sentencing, or the defence could lodge an appeal.