ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title
3. Power to take fingerprints of accused or convicted persons
4. Conviction to be recorded on fingerprint form
5. Establishment of fingerprint bureau
6. Fingerprint forms to be evidence
7. Proof of conviction by fingerprints
8. Power to make Rules
5 of 1928
30 of 1969
An Act to facilitate the identification of criminals by means of fingerprints
[14TH APRIL 1928]
This Act may be cited as the Fingerprints Act.
In this Act and any Rules made hereunder, unless the context otherwise requires—
“authorized officer” means any police officer or prison officer of Malawi;
“fingerprints” include the marks made by the papillary ridges of the fingers and palms of the hands and the toes and soles of the feet;
“fingerprint form” means a piece of paper or cardboard printed in accordance with Rules framed under this Act.
(1) An authorized officer may take the fingerprints of any person in lawful custody for any offence, whether accused or convicted, or who is subject to police supervision.
(2) The person whose fingerprints are taken, if able to write, shall sign the form in the place provided for the purpose.
(3) If any such person, when required to do so by an authorized officer, refuses to have his fingerprints taken or to sign the fingerprint form, he shall commit an offence and be liable to a fine of ten pounds and to imprisonment for one month and to enable such fingerprints to be taken reasonable force may be used by an authorized officer with the permission, and in the presence, of a magistrate or an officer in charge of police of the rank of Inspector or above.
If the person whose fingerprints are taken is convicted of any offence, his conviction and sentence shall be recorded in the space provided for the purpose on the fingerprint form.
If he is acquitted, the fingerprint form shall be destroyed.
There shall be established at a place to be approved by the Minister an office (in this Act and any Rules made hereunder referred to as the “fingerprint bureau”) for the preservation, comparison and indexing of the fingerprint forms.
Where the fingerprints on a fingerprint form purport to have been taken and the entries thereon purport to have been made by an authorized officer, the fingerprint form shall be admissible in evidence without proof, and shall be prima facie evidence of the conviction and sentence of the person whose fingerprints are impressed thereon.
For the purpose of proving a previous conviction of a person accused or convicted of any offence, a certificate in the form contained in the Rules made under this Act and purporting to be signed by the officer in charge of the fingerprint bureau, or by the officer in charge of any fingerprint bureau without Malawi, shall be admissible in evidence without proof, and shall be prima facie evidence that the fingerprints to which the certificate relates are the fingerprints of the same person and also of the previous convictions and sentences recorded in the certificate.
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