Motions and Special Applications

Pre-Trial Motions

During an investigation or before the trial commences, the prosecutor may make several applications or motions in court.  The defense may also make applications which the prosecutor must respond to. Some of the pre-trial motions a prosecutor may make or respond to are:

1. Search Warrants

These are legal documents authorising law enforcement officials to enter someone’s premises and search it for evidence. In most jurisdictions, it requires an application to the court with adequate justification to have the warrant issued.

2. Warrants of Arrest

These are legal documents authorising the arrest of a suspect. The prosecutor applies for the warrant on behalf of the investigator who requires to effect the arrest.

3. Bail 

In most jurisdictions, all accused persons are entitled to bail as a right. However, this right is not absolute.  The prosecution can make an application for the accused person to be denied bail on various grounds.  These include: the likelihood of the accused person to abscond when released on bail; the likelihood of the accused to interfere with evidence or with witnesses; the likelihood of the accused to commit another offence when released on bail; and the likelihood that the accused person can be harmed if he/she is released.

Post-Conviction Motions


These are applications the prosecutor makes to the court after the accused person has been convicted. They usually deal with further punishments or handling of exhibits produced before the court. Some of the post-conviction motions a Prosecutor may be required to make are:

1. Forfeiture Orders

In some jurisdictions, forfeiture is not automatic upon conviction and the prosecution has to make an application for it. The prosecutor can apply for forfeiture of subject matter, instrumentalities or proceeds of the crime. They can also apply for forfeiture of the accused person’s assets.

2. Deportation Orders

Where the accused person is a foreigner and has committed a serious wildlife crime, the prosecutor can apply for the accused to be deported after he/she finishes serving his/her sentence.

3. Disposal of Exhibits

The prosecutor may sometimes be required to apply to the court for the disposal of exhibits. The exhibits may need to be returned to the owner, be destroyed or be disposed of in any other way that the law may require.

Author: DidiWamukoya

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