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Miscellaneous – criminal law

1. May the prosecution of a criminal case be enjoined? (1989, #12)

Answer:
The prosecution of a criminal case may be enjoined in the following exceptional cases:
a) for the orderly administration of justice
b) to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive or vindicative manner
c) to avoid multiplicity of suits
d) to afford adequate protection to constitutional rights
e) in proper cases, when the statute relied upon is unconstitutional

2. Can criminal cases be adjudicated without trial? (1996, #1)

Answer:
Criminal cases as a rule may not be adjudicated without trial. Some exceptions are the following:
a) plea of guilty
b) motion to quash on the ground of double jeopardy or extinction of criminal action or liability
c) motion to dismiss on the ground of violation of the right to a speedy trial

3. A sued for annulment of his marriage with B. During trail, A offered in evidence cassette tapes of alleged
telephone conversation of B with her lover. The tapes were recordings made by tapping A’s telephone line, with A’s
consent and obviously without B’s or her lover’s. B vehemently objected to their admission, on the ground that
neither B nor her lover consented to the wire tap. The court admitted the tapes, ruling that the recorded
conversations are nonetheless relevant t the issues involved.
a) Was the court correct in admitting the cassette tapes in evidence? Explain.(1996, #15)

Answer:
No, because the tape recordings made by tapping A’s telephone line without the consent of B or
that of her lover was a violation of the Anti-Wire Tapping Law.

4. On the basis of the testimonies of Narcom agents, James and Tony, who spearheaded to “buy—bust”
operation by posing as buyers after a tip from a civilian informer, Steve, Bob was convicted of violation of
Dangerous Drugs Act. On appeal, Bob claims that he is entitled to an acquittal as the prosecution willfully
suppressed evidence in not presenting the informer, Steve, in court.
Decide Bob’s contention. (1994, #20)

Answer:
Bob’s contention is not correct. The prosecution could not be considered to have willfully
suppressed evidence in not presenting in court the informer in the buy-bust operation. The informer’s
testimony is not necessary in convicting Bob of violation of the Dangerous Drug Act because there were
the testimonies of two (2) Narcom agents who spearheaded the operation.

Two informations were filed in the municipal court against A – one for light threat
allegedly committed against B on 1 June 1972, and another for the theft of the watch of C
allegedly committed on 8 July 1972. Over the objection of the prosecution, the court ordered
the joint trial of the two cases. At the trial, the evidence presented was only in the case for
theft. After the trial, the court acquitted A in both cases.
1. Is the joint trial proper? Why?
2. Can A be prosecuted anew for light threat?(1975, #10)
Answer:
a) The order of the court for a joint trial of the two cases is not proper. Under Sec.
15, Rule 119, charges for offenses founded on the same facts or which form or are
a part of a series of offenses of the same or similar character may, in the
discretion of the court, be tried jointly. Since the two offenses are entirely
different from one another and are not based on the same facts same or similar
character, joint trial is not in order. The charge of light threat is entirely differently
from the theft of the watch. They do not even belong to the same class of crimes
since the threat is a crime against personal liberty and security, while the theft is
a crime against property. Even the persons of the complainant are different.
Consequently, the court had no power to try the two cases.
b) A can still be prosecuted for light threats because the order of acquittal is not
valid insofar as the offense of the light threat is concerned. The court in acquitting
the accuse for the offense of light threat, for which he was never tried, acted with
abuse of discretion, equivalent to excess or lack of jurisdiction. It must not be lost
sight of that the State is equally entitled to due process in criminal cases and this
includes the right to be given an opportunity to present its evidence in support of
the charge. Where the right has been denied, the action of the court is a nullity.
As the SC has repeatedly held a capricious dismissal of an information deprives
the State of fair opportunity to prosecute and convict; it denies the prosecution its
day in court. For that reason, the dismissal or acquittal is without due process and
is therefore null and void. It is invalid for lack of fundamental pre-requisite, that is,
due process and consequently will not constitute a proper basis for the claim of
double jeopardy.