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MEANING OF JUDGEMENT AGAINST WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE

Dictum

A castigation of a decision on the premise that a judgment is against the weight of evidence, invariably couched as an omnibus ground, connotes that the decision of the trial Court cannot be supported by the weight of evidence advanced by the successful party which the Court either wrongly accepted or that the inference it drew or conclusion it reached, based on the accepted evidence, is unjustifiable in law. Also, it implies that there is no evidence, which if accepted, will buttress the finding of the trial Court. Furthermore, it denotes that when the evidence adduced by the complaining appellant is weighed against that given by the respondent, the judgment rendered to the respondent is against the totality of the evidence placed before the trial Court. In ascertaining the weight of evidence, the trial Court is enjoined, by law, to consider whether the evidence is admissible, relevant, credible, conclusive or more probable than that given by the other party, see Mogaji v. Odofin (1978) 3 SC 91; Anyaoke v. Adi (1986) 2 NSCC, Vol. 17, 799 at 806/(1986) 3 NWLR (Pt. 31) 731; Nwokidu v. Okanu (supra) (2010)3 NWLR (Pt. 1181)362; Akinlagun v. Oshoboja (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 993) 60; Gov. Lagos State v. Adeyiga (2012) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1293) 291; Oyewole v. Akande (2009) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1163) 11; Agala v. Okusin (2010) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1202) 412.

— O.F. Ogbuinya, JCA. Impact Solutions v. International Breweries (2018) – CA/AK/122/2016

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RELEVANCY, ADMISSIBILITY, AND WEIGHT ARE IN SEPARATE DEPARTMENT IN THE LAW OF EVIDENCE

In the Law of Evidence, Relevancy, Admissibility of evidence, and weight to be attached to evidence, all these are each in a separate department. What value or weight to be attached to a piece of evidence, once it is admitted as evidence, is for the Jury, the judges of facts. And here in Nigeria, the trial judges sit in a dual capacity, qua Judges of law in matters of law and qua jury in matters of fact In my view, with due respect to the counsel, his criticism of the Tribunal is unwarrantable and so unjustified. It was for the Tribunal to accept or not to accept the evidence by the p.w.5. It was for it as well to ascribe weight or no weight to the exhibits. To be in the best position to reach a conclusion on the testimony of the p.w. 5 and the value to attach to the exhibits it adopted, in my view, the proper and right approach to reach its conclusion.

— Nsofor, JCA. Ugo v Indiamaowei (1999) – CA/PH/EP/97/99

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QUALITY OF EVIDENCE IS MORE RELEVANT THAN THE QUANTITY

The first point that must be made is that a court of law needs not take into account the number of witnesses for each side to a dispute as a relevant factor in deciding which side to succeed. What is primarily relevant is the quality of the evidence adduced before the court. In this regard, Section 179(1) of the Evidence Act provides as follows:- “179(1) Except as provided in this section, no particular number of witnesses shall in any case be required for the proof of any fact.”

— Iguh, JSC. Oguonzee v State (1998) – SC.131/97

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WRONG EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE BY TRIAL COURT

Where the Court of Appeal wrongly evaluates the evidence before the trial court and arrives at a wrong conclusion not borne out from the evidence before the court, the Supreme Court will intervene on the ground that the finding is perverse. But where the finding of the Court of Appeal is borne out from the evidence adduced in the trial court, this court cannot intervene. I do not see any reason for intervention in this appeal.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Iragunima v. Rivers State (2003)

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WHERE EVIDENCE IS CONTRADICTING, ALL SHOULD BE REJECTED

It is well settled that where prosecution witnesses have given conflicting conversions of material facts in issue that the trial Judge before whom such evidence as led must make specific findings on the point and in so doing must give reasons rejecting one version and accepting the other. Unless this is done it will be very unsafe for the court to rely on any of the incidence before it. The proper course in the circumstance is to reject both versions of the evidence as unreliable and unsafe for the purpose of determining the material issue before the court. See: Onubogu v. The State (1974) 9 S.C. 1; Albert Ikem v. The State (1985) WLR (Pt. 2) 378.

— Opene JCA. JIMOH ABDULLAHI & Ors. v THE STATE (1995) – CA/K/180/C/94

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EVIDENCE BY WITNESS IN PREVIOUS PROCEEDINGS CANNOT BE USED IN LATER PROCEEDING

It is settled law that evidence given in a previous case cannot be accepted as evidence in a subsequent proceedings except in conditions where the provisions of section 34(1) of the Evidence Act applies. Even where a witness who testified in a previous proceeding testifies again in a subsequent proceeding, the previous evidence has no greater value than its use in cross-examination of the witness as to his credit. Romaine v. Romaine (1972) 4 NWLR (Part 238) 650 at 669; Ayinde v. Salawu (1989) 3 NWLR (Part 109) 297 at 315; Alade v. Aborishade (1960) 5 FSC 167; Irenye v. Opune (1985) 2 NWLR (Part 5) 1 at 6-8 Sanyaolu v. Coker (1983) 1 SCNLR 168.

— F.F. Tabai JSC. Tijani Dada v Jacob Bankole (2008) – S.C. 40/2003

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NOT FUNCTION OF THE COURT TO SUPPLY OMISSION

The main thrust of the appeal appears to be that if the original of the public document is lost or destroyed thereby rendering the making of a certified copy impracticable, it would be unjust not to admit other form of secondary evidence such as a photocopy of the original document. I share the plight of the appellant but it must be borne in mind that the duty of the court is to expound the law and not to expand it. It is not the function of the court to supply omissions in statutes and thereby embark on judicial legislation.

– Edozie, JSC. Araka v. Egbue (2003) – SC.167/1999

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