QUESTIONING OF CERTAIN PERSONS IN CONNECTION WITH CRIME, ASCERTAINMENT OF BODILY FEATURES OF ACCUSED AND VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
Power and duty of police to question certain persons in connection with crime, and warning explanations to be given in respect thereof
37. (1) Without derogating from Article 12(1)(f) of the Namibian Constitution, a member of the police investigating an offence or alleged offence has the power and the duty to question -
(a) subject to section 26, any person who is likely to give material or relevant information as to any such offence, whether or not it is known by whom the offence was committed or allegedly committed ;
(b) subject to subsections (2) and (3), any person, whether or not arrested or detained in custody or charged, who is reasonably suspected of having committed or having attempted to commit the offence or alleged offence under investigation.
(2) A member of the police conducting an investigation under subsection (1) must, before questioning a person reasonably suspected of having committed an offence, give a warning explanation substantially in the following form to that person :
(a) That the member of the police is investigating an offence or alleged offence, and the nature thereof ;
(b) that the purpose of the investigation is to attempt to establish the truth and to establish whether an offence has in fact been committed and, if so, by whom and under what circumstances ;
(c) that the member of the police would welcome any assistance that that person can give to establish the truth and to bring the investigation to a speedy conclusion ;
(d) that the person to be questioned is a suspect in respect of the offence under investigation and, where applicable, that the member of the police is in possession of evidence under oath indicating that that person has committed the offence ;
(e) that the person to be questioned not only has the right to remain silent but also has the right to answer questions put to him or her or to give an explanation of his or her conduct or of his or her defence, if any ;
(f) that the person to be questioned has the right to consult a legal practitioner of his or her own choice before deciding whether or not to remain silent or to answer questions or give an explanation of his or her conduct or defence and that the legal practitioner is entitled to be present during the questioning ;
(g) that the warning explanation and any statement made in response thereto will be recorded in writing or mechanically and a certified copy of such recording be made available to that person in the circumstances contemplated in section 359 ; and
(h) that the warning explanation and any statement made in response thereto may be used in evidence in any criminal proceedings instituted against that person in respect of the offence in question, whether it be against or in favour of that person.
(3) The provisions of subsection (2) apply, to the extent that they can with the necessary changes be applied, to a person charged with an offence, but before questioning the person so charged the member of the police conducting the investigation must warn that person that he or she is charged with the offence in respect of which he or she is to be questioned.
(4) A warning explanation given under subsection (2) or (3) and any statement made in response thereto must -
(a) be in writing or be reduced to writing ; or
(b) where, by reason of the urgency of the matter or any other just cause, paragraph (a) cannot at the relevant time be complied with, be recorded in writing by the member of the police as soon as practicable after the questioning of the person suspected or accused of having committed the offence under investigation, and such member must then -
(i) give the person concerned an opportunity to comment thereon ; and
(ii) record in writing any comments made under subparagraph (i) ; or
(c) where mechanical means are available, be mechanically recorded and as soon as practicable thereafter be transcribed.
Powers in respect of prints and bodily appearance of accused
38. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a member of the police may -
(a) take the fingerprints, palm-prints or footprints or cause any such prints to be taken -
(i) of any person arrested on any charge ;
(ii) of any such person released on bail under Chapter 11 or on warning under section 78 ;
(iii) of any person arrested in respect of any matter referred to in paragraph (m), (n) or (o) of section 42(1) ;
(iv) of any person on whom a summons has been served in respect of any offence referred to in Schedule 1 or any offence with reference to which the suspension, cancellation or endorsement of any licence or permit or the disqualification in respect of any licence or permit is permissible or prescribed; or
(v) of any person convicted by a court ;
(b) make a person referred to in paragraph (a)(i) or (ii) available or cause such person to be made available for identification in such condition, position or apparel as the member of the police may determine ;
(c) take such steps or cause such steps to be taken (including the taking of a blood or other bodily fluid sample, or a hair, skin, handwriting or voice sample, or nail clippings or scrapings) as the member of the police may consider necessary to ascertain whether the body of a person referred to in paragraph (a)(i) or (ii) has any mark, characteristic or distinguishing feature or shows any condition or appearance, but no member of the police may personally -
(i) take any blood or other bodily fluid sample of such person ; or
(ii) make any examination of the body of such person where that person is not of the same sex as the member of the police intending to make such examination ;
(d) take a photograph or cause a photograph to be taken of a person referred to in paragraph (a)(i) or (ii).
(2) The fingerprints and palm-prints of a person arrested on a charge of having committed any offence referred to in Schedule 1 must be taken or caused to be taken by the member of the police charged with the investigation as soon as practicable after the arrest or detention of that person and the fingerprints and palm-prints so taken must be processed without delay to ascertain whether that person has any previous convictions or is sought elsewhere for any other offence.
(3) (a) A medical officer of any prison or a district surgeon must, and any other registered medical practitioner or registered nurse may, if requested thereto by a member of the police acting in the execution of his or her duties, take such steps (including the taking of a blood or other bodily fluid sample, or a hair or skin sample, or nail clippings or scrapings) as may be considered necessary to ascertain whether the body of a person referred to in paragraph (a)(i) or (ii) of subsection (1) has any mark, characteristic or distinguishing feature or shows any condition or appearance, and may in taking any such steps be assisted where necessary by a member of the police of the same sex as that person.
(b) If a registered medical practitioner or registered nurse attached to any hospital is on reasonable grounds of the opinion that the contents of the blood of any person admitted to the hospital for medical attention or treatment may be relevant at any later criminal proceedings, the medical practitioner or registered nurse may take a blood sample of that person or cause such sample to be taken.
(c) Nothing in paragraph (a) contained is to be construed as preventing a medical officer of any prison or a district surgeon from taking any steps contemplated in that paragraph without having been requested thereto by a member of the police.
(4) A court before which criminal proceedings are pending may -
(a) in any case in which a member of the police is not empowered under subsection (1) to take fingerprints, palm-prints or footprints or to take steps to ascertain whether the body of a person has any mark, characteristic or distinguishing feature or shows any condition or appearance, order that any such prints be taken of an accused at such proceedings or that the steps (including the taking of a blood or other bodily fluid sample, or a hair, skin, handwriting or voice sample, or nail clippings or scrapings) be taken which the court may consider necessary to ascertain whether the body of an accused at such proceedings has any mark, characteristic or distinguishing feature or shows any condition or appearance ;
(b) order that the steps, including the taking of a blood or other bodily fluid sample, be taken which the court may consider necessary to ascertain the state of health of an accused at such proceedings.
(5) A court that has convicted a person of any offence or that has concluded a preparatory examination against a person on any charge, or a district magistrate, may order that the fingerprints, palm-prints or footprints or a photograph of that person be taken.
(6) Fingerprints, palm-prints or footprints, photographs and the record of steps taken under this section must be destroyed if the person concerned is found not guilty at his or her trial or if his or her conviction is set aside by a superior court or if he or she is discharged at a preparatory examination or if no criminal proceedings with reference to which any such prints or photographs were taken or such record was made are instituted against the person concerned in any court or if the prosecution declines to prosecute that person.
(7) A person who, without sufficient cause, refuses or fails to comply with -
(a) a request made under subsection (1) by a member of the police to submit to -
(i) the taking of fingerprints, palm-prints or footprints or a photograph ;
(ii) an identification parade ; or
(iii) any other steps to be lawfully taken under paragraph (c) of that subsection ;
(b) a request made under subsection (3)(a) by any person referred to therein to submit to any steps to be lawfully taken under that subsection ; or
(c) an order made under subsection (4)(a) or (b) or (5),
commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N$20 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
Victim impact statement
39. (1) The member of the police charged with an investigation, or any other member of the police charged with such duty, must obtain a victim impact statement in respect of every victim of an offence against the person or against property and file the statement so obtained with the prosecuting authority in such manner and within such period, but not later than the date of commencement of the trial of the accused, as the Prosecutor-General may determine.
(2) If for whatever reason a victim is incapable of preparing a victim impact statement -
(a) the victim’s legal practitioner or the spouse or any dependant or other relative of the victim or, where the victim is a minor, his or her parent or guardian, may prepare the victim impact statement on behalf of the victim ; and
(b) where no person referred to in paragraph (a) is available to prepare the victim impact statement, any member of the police referred to in subsection (1) must, with the assistance of -
(i) the victim ; and
(ii) where necessary, the Prosecutor-General or any public prosecutor designated by the Prosecutor-General for that purpose or the public prosecutor conducting the prosecution of the accused concerned or any other prosecutor attached to the same court,
prepare the victim impact statement on behalf of the victim.
(3) A victim impact statement must -
(a) be prepared in writing substantially in the form prescribed by Schedule 8 ;
(b) contain full particulars of any injury, damage or loss suffered by the victim concerned, including the amount of compensation to be applied for in respect thereof ; and
(c) be sworn to or affirmed before a commissioner of oaths that the contents thereof are true.
(4) (a) A victim impact statement is, subject to paragraph (b), on its mere production at criminal proceedings admissible in evidence to the same extent as oral evidence to the same effect by the victim concerned, but only for the purposes of -
(i) informing the court, without derogating from section 305, as to the proper sentence to be passed ;
(ii) applying for the award of compensation to a victim in terms of section 326.
(b) A victim impact statement -
(i) complying with the requirements of subsection (3) ; and
(ii) of which a copy, together with a notification that such statement will be tendered in evidence at the trial of the accused but that the accused may dispute the correctness of any fact contained therein before it being so tendered, was handed or delivered to the accused or his or her legal practitioner a reasonable time before the statement is to be tendered in evidence,
may, on the mere production thereof at criminal proceedings, be admitted in evidence to the extent that the facts contained therein are not disputed by the accused, and the court may then consider any fact or facts not so placed in issue to have been sufficiently proved at such proceedings.
(c) If a victim impact statement is admitted in evidence only to the extent that the facts contained therein are not disputed by the accused, oral evidence may be adduced to prove the fact or facts placed in issue.
(d) Notwithstanding that a victim impact statement may be admitted or partly admitted in evidence under this subsection, the court may of its own motion, and must on the application of any party to the criminal proceedings in question, cause the victim concerned or other person by whom such statement was prepared to be subpoenaed to give oral evidence before the court regarding any fact, whether or not disputed, contained in the statement.
1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions: