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Code of Canon Law

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  • BOOK VII : PROCESSES
    • PART IV : THE PENAL PROCESS (Cann. 1717 - 1731)
          • CHAPTER II : THE COURSE OF THE PROCESS
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CHAPTER II : THE COURSE OF THE PROCESS

Can. 1720 If the Ordinary believes that the matter should proceed by way of an extra-judicial decree:

he is to notify the accused of the allegation and the evidence, and give an opportunity for defence, unless the accused, having been lawfully summoned, has failed to appear;

together with two assessors, he is accurately to weigh all the evidence and arguments;

if the offence is certainly proven and the time for criminal action has not elapsed, he is to issue a decree in accordance with cann. 1342 - 1350, outlining at least in summary form the reasons in law and in fact.

Can. 1721 §1 If the Ordinary decrees that a judicial penal process is to be initiated, he is to pass the acts of the investigation to the promotor of justice, who is to present to the judge a petition of accusation in accordance with cann. 1502 and 1504.

§2 Before a higher tribunal, the promotor of justice constituted for that tribunal adopts the role of plaintiff.

Can. 1722 At any stage of the process, in order to prevent scandal, protect the freedom of the witnesses and safeguard the course of justice, the Ordinary can, after consulting the promotor of justice and summoning the accused person to appear, prohibit the accused from the exercise of the sacred ministry or of some ecclesiastical office and position, or impose or forbid residence in a certain place or territory, or even prohibit public participation in the blessed Eucharist. If, however, the reason ceases, all these restrictions are to be revoked; they cease by virtue of the law itself as soon as the penal process ceases.

Can. 1723 §1 When the judge summons the accused, he must invite the latter to engage an advocate, in accordance with Can. 1481 §1, but within the time laid down by the judge.

§2 If the accused does not do this, the judge himself is to appoint an advocate before the joinder of the issue, and this advocate will remain in office for as long as the accused has not engaged an advocate.

Can. 1724 §1 At the direction or with the consent of the Ordinary who decided that the process should be initiated, the promotor of justice in any grade of the trial can resign from the case.

§2 For validity, this resignation must be accepted by the accused person, unless he or she has been declared absent from the trial.

Can. 1725 In the argumentation of the case, whether done in writing or orally, the accused person or the advocate or procurator of the accused, always has the right to write or speak last.

Can. 1726 If in any grade or at any stage of a penal trial, it becomes quite evident that the offence has not been committed by the accused, the judge must declare this in a judgement and acquit the accused, even if it is at the same time clear that the period for criminal proceedings has elapsed.

Can. 1727 §1 The offender can appeal, even if discharged in the judgement only because the penalty was facultative, or because the judge used the power mentioned in cann. 1344 and 1345.

§2 The promotor of justice can appeal whenever he considers that the reparation of scandal or the restitution of justice has not been sufficiently provided for.

Can. 1728 §1 Without prejudice to the canons of this title, and unless the nature of the case requires otherwise, in a penal trial the judge is to observe the canons concerning judicial procedures in general, those concerning the ordinary contentious process, and the special norms about cases which concern the public good.

§2 The accused person is not bound to admit to an offence, nor may the oath be administered to the accused.




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