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CONFESSION ALONE CAN GROUND CONVICTION

Dictum

Furthermore, it is also the law that the confessional statement of an accused person alone is sufficient to ground a conviction. A confession alone, properly proved, is enough to ground a conviction, even without corroboration. Thus, an uncorroborated confessional statement of an accused person can be acted upon, without more. Nonetheless, it is advisable to look for some evidence outside the confessional statement which makes it probable that the confession is true.

– Sankey JCA. Abdul v. State (2021)

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A CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS THE STRONGEST EVIDENCE AGAINST AN ACCUSED

It is trite in law, that there is no evidence stronger than a person’s own admission or confession. The confessional statement made by an accused person is potent evidence in the hand of a prosecutor for proving a charge. It is the best and safest evidence on which to convict.

– M. Peter-Odili, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: VOLUNTARINESS VS DISOWNING

Where it is alleged that a confessional statement was obtained under duress or as a result of threat or inducement, the Courts have developed the practice of conducting a trial within trial 18 (TWT) or mini trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the statement. The onus is on the prosecution to prove that it was freely and voluntarily made … On the other hand, where the accused outrightly disowns the confession and asserts that he did not make the statement at all, it would be admitted in evidence and considered alongside other evidence led at the trial to determine its probative value.

– Kekere-Ekun JSC. Berende v. FRN (2021)

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INTERPRETER OF AN ACCUSED STATEMENT MUST BE CALLED

It is indeed the law that an accused person’s statement should, as much as possible, be taken down in the exact words of the accused person. Where the statement is thereafter translated into English by another person, the interpreter must be called as a witness in order for the statement in English to be admissible in evidence. Where that interpreter is not called, the statement in English will be regarded as hearsay evidence and will therefore be inadmissible

– Eyop v. State (2018) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1615) 273 (SC) per Sanusi, J.S.C.

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RETRACTION OF CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT

Additionally, on the retraction of the contents of Exhibit A at the trial by the Appellant as DW1, the law is settled that a retraction or denial of a confessional statement does not affect its admissibility. Thus, the mere fact that a confessional statement is challenged on the ground that the accused person did not make the statement, does not render it inadmissible in evidence. In such a situation, the application of the following principles should be considered in determining whether or not to believe and act on a confession which an accused person has resiled from: a) Whether there is anything outside the confession which may vindicate its veracity; whether it is corroborated in any way; b) Whether its contents, if tested could be true; c) Whether the defendant had the opportunity of committing the alleged offence; or d) Whether the confession is possible and the consistency of the said confession with other facts that have been established.

– Sankey JCA. Abdul v. State (2021)

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TEST TO PROVE CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT

The tests for determining the voluntariness of a confessional statement have been consistently applied by this Court in a plethora of cases as follows: (1) Whether there is anything outside the confession to show that it is true. (2) Whether the statement is corroborated, no matter how slight (3) Whether the facts contained therein, so far as can be tested, are true. (4) Whether the accused person had the opportunity of committing the offence. (5) Whether the confession of the accused person was possible. (6) Whether the confession was consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and proved in the matter.

– J.I. Okoro JSC. Berende v. FRN (2021)

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CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT TENDERED WITHOUT OBJECTION IS VALID

The law is well settled that when a confessional statement is tendered without objection by an accused or his counsel, they cannot cry foul on appeal as it is deemed they were in agreement with what was tendered at the trial Court, see the cases of Shurumo v. State (2010) LPELR-3069(SC) and FRN v. Kayode-Beckley (2020) LPELR-50549(CA), neither the appellant nor his counsel objected to PW4 tendering exhibit A at the trial Court.

– EBIOWEI TOBI, J.C.A. Abdul v. State (2021)

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