Criminal Justice Act, 1951

Procedure where accused pleads guilty in District Court to indictable offence.

3.—(1) This section applies to all indictable offences except the following—an offence under the Treason Act, 1939 (No. 10 of 1939), murder, attempt to murder, conspiracy to murder and piracy, including an offence by an accessory before or after the fact.

(2) Where, before or after taking or completing depositions,—

(a) the District Court ascertains that a person charged with an offence to which this section applies wishes to plead guilty, and

(b) the Court is satisfied that he understands the nature of the offence and the facts alleged,

the Court may—

(i) if the Attorney General does not object, deal with the offence summarily, or

(ii) if the accused signs a plea of guilty, send him forward for trial with that plea and any depositions already taken.

(3) (a) Where a person sent forward for trial under this section, on being arraigned, expresses the desire to withdraw his written plea and to plead not guilty, the trial judge shall enter a plea of not guilty and fix a date for the trial.

(b) If at the trial it is proposed to call as witnesses for the prosecution persons who have not made depositions, the Attorney General shall, not less than seven days before the trial, cause to be served on the accused a notice in writing specifying those persons and giving a statement of the evidence that is to be given by each of them.