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BECAUSE COMPUTER GENERATED DOCUMENT IS ANNEXED TO A NON-COMPUTER GENERATED DOCUMENT

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In an avowed bid to amputate the long arm of the provision of Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011, the first respondent invented two defences to insulate and consolidate the admission of the document. The first is that the document is an annexure to another document and exempt from the requirement of the provision. Undeniably, the document, exhibit L2, is an appendage to exhibit D which incorporated it by reference. However, the exhibit L2 is not a progeny or part and parcel of exhibit D. Even though there appears a symbiotic relationship between but one is an independent of the other. They are distinct and separable both in their contents, context and imports. A satisfaction of the requirements of the provision by one does not, in the least, serve for the other and vice versa. This defence of annexure is a feeble defence 77 which is weak-kneed to absolve exhibit L2 from the mandatory compliance with the provision of Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011.

— O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

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PROOF THAT COMPUTER IS RELIABLE CAN BE DONE BY ORAL EVIDENCE OR WRITTEN CERTIFICATE

R v. Shephard [1993] 1 All ER 225: “Proof that the computer is reliable can be provided in two ways: either by calling oral evidence or by tendering a written certificate subject to the power of the Judge to require oral evidence. It is understandable that if a certificate is to be relied upon it should show on its face that it is signed by a person who from his job description can confidently be expected to be in a person to give reliable evidence about the operation of the computer. This enables the defendant to decide whether to accept at its face value or to ask the Judge to require oral evidence which can be challenged in cross examination.”

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AN E-DOCUMENT THAT HAPPENS TO BE A PUBLIC DOCUMENT MUST BE CERTIFIED AS A TRUE COPY

Furthermore and on the document exhibit ‘D’, which is an internet print out of the Punch Newspaper, it is by nature a secondary evidence of the original by reason of the provisions of sections 85 and 87(a) of the Evidence Act 2011. The law is trite on the admissibility of such category of secondary evidence. In other words and on the authority of sections 90(1) (c) and 102(b) of the Evidence Act, it is only the certified True Copy of the document as secondary evidence and non other that is admissible. It is my considered view therefore that the absence of certification had rendered Exhibit ‘D’ a worthless document and inadmissible. Also and on the same footing is the document exhibit ‘L’ which is a computer/internet generated document allegedly printed by the appellants from the website of the 3rd respondent. As rightly submitted on behalf of the respondents, by virtue of section 102 (ii) of the Evidence Act, such document is classified as public document and only a Certified True copy of same is admissible in law. It follows therefore that the two exhibits ‘D’ and ‘L’ share the same fate and are rendered of no legal effect. The lower court was therefore on a sound footing in upholding the Tribunal’s stand by expunging the documents. The following authorities are relevant in support. – N.I.P.C. Ltd V. Thompson Organization Ltd (1966) 1 NMLR 99 @ 104 Kankia V. Maigemu (2003) 6 NWLR (Pt. 817) 496 and Owonyin V. Omotosho (1961) 2 SC NLR 53.

— C.B. Ogunbiyi, JSC. Kubor v. Dickson (2012) – SC.369/2012

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CERTIFICATE UNDER SECTION 84(4) CAN BE PRODUCED BY A NON EXPERT

Another condition for the admissibility of electronic evidence under Section 84(4) of the Act is the production of an authentication/trustworthiness certificate of the computer used in producing the documents. From case law, this subsection permits even non-experts to issue such a certificate, especially persons who, though not possessing the required professional qualifications may have acquired some practical knowledge and being in the position described in the subsection to bring him within the definition of an expert by the expanded definition of an expert in Oando Nig. Plc V Adijere W/A Ltd (2013) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1377) 374. Whether an expert is competent in his field is a matter for the Court to decide, applying the credibility test after hearing his oral testimony.

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Brila Energy Ltd. v. FRN (2018) – CA/L/658CA/2017

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INFORMATION FED INTO THE COMPUTER AND PRINTED IS NOT COMPUTER-GENERATED DOCUMENT

Furthermore, this tribunal agrees in toto with the submission of the Petitioner’s counsel, that the argument of the 2nd Respondent on the inadmissibility of Exhibit P169, on account of the fact that it is a computer generated document, is misconceived. We agree that the report is a product of information fed into the computer and printed and such documents are different from computer generated documents. If not so, its implication is, that every information fed into a computer by anyone would have to be certificate compliant, which is definitely not the intention of Section 84 of the Evidence 2011 and we so hold.

— A. Osadebay, J. APC v INEC & Ors. (EPT/KN/GOV/01/2023, 20th Day of September, 2023)

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UNDER SECTION 84, TRUTH OF THE STATEMENT CONTAINED IN THE DOCUMENT IS LEFT TO WEIGHT THE COURT WILL ATTACH

Section 84, which is similar to Section 69 of UK PACE 1984, does not require the prosecution to show that the statement contained in the document is likely to be true. Whether it is likely to be true or not is a question of weight for the Court to decide. Instead, all it requires as a condition for the admissibility of a computer-generated statement/document is positive evidence that the computer processed, stored and reproduced whatever information it received. It is majorly concerned with the way in which the computer has dealt with the information to generate the statement which is being tendered as evidence of a fact which it states. See DPP V Mckeown (1997) 1 All ER 737.

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Brila Energy Ltd. v. FRN (2018) – CA/L/658CA/2017

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TO TENDER COMPUTER GENERATED EVIDENCE, SUCH MUST COMPLY WITH SECTION 84(2)

It has been established firmly that a computer – generated document can only be admitted in evidence upon compliance with the requirements of Section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011. Thus a party that seeks to tender in evidence such a document must lead evidence to satisfy the requirements of Section 84 (2). See Kubor V Dickson (2013) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1345) 534 and Omisore V Aregbesola (2015) NWLR (Pt. 1482).

– Ekanem JCA. C.O.P. v. Doolor (2020) – CA/MK/182/2017

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