According to the provision of S.357 of the Criminal Code, rape occurs when a person has unlawful carnal knowledge of woman without her consent, if with her consent, by means of threat or intimidation, by means of fraudulent misrepresentation as to the act or by impersonating her husband.

The meaning of “unlawful carnal knowledge is expressly provided for in S. 6 of the Criminal Code. It defines unlawful carnal knowledge as Read More…


What is Manslaughter?

Manslaughter can be regarded as the the twin brother of murder. According to the provision of S.317 of the Criminal Code, any killing that doesn’t amount to murder would be regarded as manslaughter. A lot of scholars, particularly Clarkson & Keating are of the view that manslaughter occurs when there is the actus reus of murder but the offender is not entirely blameworthy so as to warrant the offence of murder.

The offence of manslaughter is usually classified into Read More…


In criminal law, before an accused can be convicted, there must be a causal link between the act of the accused and the death of the deceased. If there is a break in the causal chain, the accused would be held to be free of liability. Thus, actus novus intervenin should also not be inferred from the circumstances of the case.

In the case of R vs Blaue (1975) Vol 3 All E.R, the accused stabbed the deceased who Read More…


What is Homicide?

Homicide/murder means the killing of a person in a manner not justified by the law. In the olden days, a man was penalised for murder regardless of whether or not the death that resulted from his action or omission was intentional or not. The offence of homicide is unique due to the fact that it deals with the violation of the sanctity of human life.

This is moreso as the law pursuant to Read More…


Who are The Parties to An Offence?

This is a situation in which two or more parties form a common intention to carry out a criminal act. The degree of their participation might vary but the law would hold them jointly and severally liable for the commission of the crime.  The law regards all of them as partners in the crime as encapsulated in the maxim “particeps criminis“.

Read More…

MENS REA (The Mental Element of an Offence)

What Does Mens Rea Mean?

Mens rea refers to the mental element required to be proved by the definition of the crime. By the definition of the crime, I am referring to the statutory provision that describes what the offence is. If the prosecution cannot prove this element, then their case fails. Also, mens rea differs from Read More…

ACTUS REUS (The Physical Element of An Offence)

What is Actus Reus

Actus reus may consist of an act, omission, a passive state of affairs or an initial act and/or some other factor. The actus reus of an offence is the external manifestation of human conduct that results in a forbidden act. It is simply the whole definition of a crime excluding the mental element.

Categories of Actus Reus

The following are Read More…

ELEMENTS OF AN OFFENCE (Actus Reus and Mens Rea)

In considering criminal liability we are considered with the elements that must be proved in order to secure the conviction of a criminal offender. In the early days of criminal law, what entailed was a system of strict liability which is still applied in some jurisdictions. In those days, Read More…


Before the year 1967, Nigeria was a country which comprised of four regions: the Northern Region, the Western Regions, the Eastern Region and the Mid-Western Region. This number increased to 12 states in 1967. In the year 1976, the number increased to 19 states. It became 21 states in the year 1988, 30 states in 1991 and finally 36 states in 1996.

Furthermore, Read More…

  Historical Evolution of Nigerian Criminal Law

Before the advent of the British to the area now known as Nigeria, there were different systems for the administration of criminal law. In the Southern part of Nigeria, the criminal justice system was administered using the local traditions of the society. In most parts of the North, the criminal justice system was regulated by the operation of Islamic law.

In the year 1861, Read More…

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