Petty Offences

These are minor offences whose penalty ranges from a caution, low value fine, community service and a one-month imprisonment term. The penal code lists these offences to be; idle and disorderly, prostitution, being a common nuisance, rogue and vagabond, easing oneself in public and begging on the streets. They are usually handled by grade 1 and 2 Magistrates.

What happens when someone is arrested for committing a Petty offence?

When someone is suspected of committing a petty offence, they are arrested by police and detained/ locked up in a police cell. This is what is usually referred to as being in police custody. While he/she is in Police custody he/ she is called a suspect because he/ she is only suspected of having committed the offence and investigations are still ongoing to confirm the same. Such a suspect has rights according to the constitution.

What are the rights of a Suspect?

  1. To be informed in a language they understand of the offence they are suspected to have committed.
  2. Not to be subjected torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment since they are presumed innocent until proven guilty by courts of law.
  3. To be presumed innocent until proven guilty by Courts of Law.
  4. To be produced before a competent Court within 48 hours.
  5. To apply for Police Bond pending investigations into the case.
  6. To be released as soon as possible if no case has been properly framed against them.
  7. To speak to the lawyer of their choice.
  8. To be informed of the progress of their case before they are taken to Court