Penal Code, 1930
- Commenced on 1 November 1931
- [This is the version of this document as it was at 31 December 1996 to 31 August 2000.]
Part I – General provisions
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Penal Code and hereinafter is referred to as "this Code".
2. Saving of certain lawsExcept as hereinafter expressly provided, nothing in this Code shall affect—
3. General rule of interpretationThis Code shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of legal interpretation obtaining in England.[No. 5 of 1972]
4. InterpretationUnless the context otherwise requires—"dwelling-house" includes any building or structure or part of a building or structure or any tent, or caravan or vessel which is for the time being kept by the owner or occupier for the residence therein of himself, his family or servants or any of them, and it is immaterial that it is from time to time uninhabited; a building or structure adjacent to or occupied with a dwelling-house is deemed to be part of the dwelling-house if there is a communication between such building or structure and the dwelling-house, either immediate or by means of a covered and enclosed passage leading from the one to the other, but not otherwise;"explosive" or "explosive substance" means—(a)nitro-glycerine, dynamite, gun-cotton, blasting powders, gunpowder, fulminate of mercury or other metals, and every other substance or mixture, whether similar to those enumerated herein or not, used with a view to producing a practical effect by explosion; and(b)any detonating, igniter or safety fuse, or article of like nature, any detonator, and every adaption or preparation of an explosive as herein defined;"felony" means an offence which is declared by law to be a felony or, if not declared to be a misdemeanour, is punishable, without proof of previous conviction, with death, or with imprisonment with hard labour for three years or more;"grevious harm" means any harm which endangers life or which amounts to a maim or which seriously or permanently injures health or which is likely so to injure health, or which extends to permanent disfigurement, or to any permanent or serious injury to any external or internal organ, member or sense;"harm" means any bodily hurt, disease or disorder whether permanent or temporary;"judicial proceeding" includes any proceeding had or taken in or before any court, tribunal, commission of inquiry, or person in which evidence may be taken on oath,"knowingly", used in connection with any term denoting uttering or using, implies knowledge of the character of the thing uttered or used;"local authority" means a city council, municipal council, town council, district council;"maim" means the destruction or permanent disabling of any external or internal organ, member or sense;"misdemeanour" means any offence which is not a felony;"money" includes bank notes, currency notes, bank drafts, cheques and other similar orders, warrants or requests for the payment of money;"night" or "night-time" means the interval between seven o'clock in the evening and six o'clock in the morning;"offensive weapon" means any article made or adapted for use for causing or threatening injury to the person, or intended by the person in question for such use, and includes any knife, spear, arrow, stone, axe, axe handle, stick or similar article;"owner" and other like terms, when used with reference to property, include corporations of all kinds and any other association of persons capable of owning property, and also when so used include the President;"person employed in the public service" means any person holding any of the following offices or performing the duty thereof, whether as a deputy or otherwise, namely:(a)any public office; or(b)any office to which a person is appointed or nominated by Act or Statute; or(c)any civil office, the power of appointing to which or removing from which is vested in any person or persons holding an office of any kind included in either of the two last preceding paragraphs of this definition; or(d)any office of arbitrator or umpire in any proceeding or matter submitted to arbitration by order or with the sanction of any court, or in pursuance of any Act;and the said term further includes—(i)a member of a commission of inquiry appointed under or in pursuance of any Act;(ii)any person employed to execute any process of a court;(iii)all persons belonging to the Defence Force;(iv)all persons in the employment of any department of the Government, or a person in the employ of any corporation, body or board, including an institution of higher learning, in which the Government has a majority or controlling interest or any director of any such corporation, body or board;(v)a person acting as a minister of religion of whatsoever denomination in so far as he performs functions in respect of the notification of intending marriage or in respect of the solemnisation of marriage, or in respect of the making or keeping of any register or certificate of marriage, birth, baptism, death or burial, but not in any other respect;(vi)a councillor of, or a person in the employ of a local authority;(vii)a person in the employ of a local authority;"petroleum" has the meaning assigned to it by section two of the Petroleum Act;[Cap. 435]"possession", "be in possession of" or "have in possession"—(a)includes not only having in one's own personal possession, but also knowingly having anything in the actual possession or custody of any other person, or having anything in any place (whether belonging to, or occupied by oneself or not) for the use or benefit of oneself or of any other person;(b)if there are two or more persons and any one or more of them with the knowledge and consent of the rest has or have anything in his or their custody or possession, it shall be deemed and taken to be in the custody and possession of each and all of them;"property" includes any description of real and personal property, money, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and also includes not only such property as has been originally in the possession or under the control of any person, but also any property into or for which the same has been converted or exchanged, and anything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise;"public" refers not only to all persons within Zambia, but also to such indeterminate persons as may happen to be affected by the conduct in respect to which such expression is used;"public place" or "public premises" includes any public way and any building, place or conveyance to which for the time being the public are entitled or permitted to have access, either without any condition or upon condition of making any payment, and any building or place which is for the time being used for any public or religious meetings, or assembly or as an open court;"public way" includes any highway, market place, square, street, bridge or other way which is lawfully used by the public;"publicly" when applied to acts done means either—(a)that they are so done in any public place as to be seen by any person whether such person be or be not in a public place; or(b)that they are so done in any place, not being a public place, as to be likely to be seen by any person in a public place;"the State" means the Sovereign Republic of Zambia;"Statute" means any British Act and includes any orders, rules, regulations, by-laws, or other subsidiary legislation made or passed under the authority of any Statute;"utter" includes using or dealing with and attempting to use or deal with and attempting to induce any person to use, deal with or act upon the thing in question;"valuable security" includes any document which is the property of any person, and which is evidence of the ownership of any property or of the right to recover or receive any property;"vessel" includes a ship, a boat and every other kind of vessel used in navigation either on the sea or in inland waters, and includes aircraft;"wound" means any incision or puncture which divides or pierces any exterior membrane of the body, and any membrane is exterior for the purpose of this definition which can be touched without dividing or piercing any other membrane.[As amended by No. 26 of 1940; No. 29 of 1948; No. 53 of 1957; Nos. 7 and 34 of 1960; G.N. No. 268 of 1964; S.I. No. 63 of 1964; Nos. 69 and 76 of 1965; 35 of 1973; No. 20 of 1966; Nos. 25 and 36 of 1969; No. 5 of 1972; No. 29 of 1974; and No. 3 of 1990]
Application of this Code
5. Extent of jurisdiction of local courtsThe jurisdiction of the courts of Zambia for the purposes of this Code extends to every place within Zambia.
6. Liability for offences committed outside the jurisdiction, or partly within and partly beyond the jurisdiction
General rules as to criminal responsibility
7. Ignorance of lawIgnorance of the law does not afford any excuse for any act or omission which would otherwise constitute an offence unless know-ledge of the law by the offender is expressly declared to be an element of the offence.
8. Bona fide claim of rightA person is not criminally responsible in respect of an offence relating to property, if the act done or omitted to be done by him with respect to the property was done in the exercise of an honest claim of right and without intention to defraud.
9. Intention and motive
10. Mistake of factA person who does or omits to do an act under an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in the existence of any state of things is not criminally responsible for the act or omission to any greater extent than if the real state of things had been such as he believed to exist. The operation of this rule may be excluded by the express or implied provisions of the law relating to the subject.
11. Presumption of sanityEvery person is presumed to be of sound mind, and to have been of sound mind at any time which comes in question, until the contrary is proved.
12. InsanityA person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission if at the time of doing the act or making the omission he is, through any disease affecting his mind, incapable of understanding what he is doing, or of knowing that he ought not to do the act or make the omission. But a person may be criminally responsible for an act or omission, although his mind is affected by disease, if such disease does not in fact produce upon his mind one or other of the effects above mentioned in reference to that act or omission.
12A. Defence of diminished responsibility
14. Immature age
15. Judicial officersExcept as expressly provided by this Code, a judicial officer is not criminally responsible for anything done or omitted to be done by him in the exercise of his judicial functions, although the act done is in excess of his judicial authority or although he is bound to do the act omitted to be done.
16. Defence of duress or coercion
17. Defence of person or propertySubject to any other provisions of this Code or any other law for the time being in force, a person shall not be criminally responsible for the use of force in repelling an unlawful attack upon his person or property, or the person or property of any other person, if the means he uses and the degree of force he employs in doing so are no more than is necessary in the circumstances to repel the unlawful attack.[As amended by Act 3 of 1990]
18. Use of force in effecting arrestWhere any person is charged with a criminal offence arising out of the arrest, or attempted arrest, by him of a person who forcibly resists such arrest or attempts to evade being arrested, the court shall, in considering whether the means used were necessary or the degree of force used was reasonable for the apprehension of such person, have regard to the gravity of the offence which had been, or was being, committed by such person and the circumstances in which such offence had been, or was being, committed by such person.
19. ***[repealed by Act No. 3 of 1990]
20. Person not to be punished twice for same offenceA person cannot be punished twice either under the provisions of this Code or under the provisions of any other law for the same act or omission, except in the case where the act or omission is such that by means thereof he causes the death of another person, in which case he may be convicted of the offence of which he is guilty by reason of causing such death, notwithstanding that he has already been convicted of some other offence constituted by the act or omission.
Parties to offences
21. Principal offenders
22. Offences committed by joint offenders in prosecution of common purposeWhen two or more persons form a common intention to prosecute an unlawful purpose in conjunction with one another, and in the prosecution of such purpose an offence is committed of such a nature that its commission was a probable consequence of the prosecution of such purpose, each of them is deemed to have committed the offence.
23. Counselling another to commit an offenceWhen a person counsels another to commit an offence, and an offence is actually committed after such counsel by the person to whom it is given, it is immaterial whether the offence actually committed is the same as that counselled or a different one, or whether the offence is committed in the way counselled or in a different way, provided in either case that the facts constituting the offence actually committed are a probable consequence of carrying out the counsel. In either case the person who gave the counsel is deemed to have counselled the other person to commit the offence actually committed by him.
24. Different kinds of punishmentThe following punishments may be inflicted by a court:
25. Sentence of death
27. Corporal punishment
28. FinesWhere a fine is imposed under any written law, then, in the absence of express provisions relating to such fine in such written law, the following provisions shall apply:
|Not exceeding 15 penalty unit||14 days|
|Exceeding 15 penalty units but not exceeding 30 penalty units||1 month|
|Exceeding 30 penalty units but not exceeding 150 penalty units||3 months|
|Exceeding 150 penalty units but not exceeding 600 penalty units||4 months|
|Exceeding 150 penalty units but not exceeding 600 penalty units||6 months|
|Exceeding 1500 penalty units||9 months|