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WHAT IS IDENTIFICATION PARADE?

Dictum

An identification parade is the process by which an accused person is identified out of a number of people with identical features as the accused person, by a witness. – Ogunwumiju JCA. Okeke v. State (2016)

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IDENTIFICATION OF ACCUSED PERSON IS ONE OF FACT

Proper identification of the accused person as the person who took part in the commission of the alleged crime, is one of fact. See OKOSI v. THE STATE (1989) 1 NWLR (pt. 100) 642; STATE v. AIBANGBEE & ANOR. (1988) 7 SCNJ 128.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kekong v State (2017) – SC.884/2014

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WHEN IDENTIFICATION PARADE IS ESSENTIAL

In Aliyu v. State (2007) ALL FWLR Pt. 388 Pg. 1123 at Pg. 1147, this Court per Ariwoola JCA (as he then was) held as follows: “An identification parade is not sine qua non to a conviction for a crime alleged, it is essential in the following instances – a. where the victim did not know the accused before and his first acquaintance with him was during the commission of the offence; b. where the victim or witness was confronted by the offender for a very short time; c. where the victim due to time and circumstance might not have had full opportunity of observing the features of the accused.

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THE DANGER OF IDENTIFICATION PARADE

R v. Turnbull (1976) 3 WLR 28, as follows: “Recognition may be more reliable than identification of a stranger; but when the witness is purporting to recognize someone whom he knows, the jury should be reminded that mistakes in recognition of close relatives and friends are sometimes made. All these matters go to the quality of the identification evidence. If the quality of the evidence is good and remains good at the close of the accused person’s case, the danger of mistaken identification is lessened but the poorer the quality, the greater the danger.”

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FACTORS BEFORE PLACING RELIANCE ON IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE

The correct identification of the perpetrator of a crime is therefore crucial, particularly where the accused person was not arrested at the scene of crime, and the victim did not know him prior to the incident. In order to avoid a situation of mistaken identity, the Court will consider certain factors before placing reliance on the identification evidence, such as: (a) The circumstances in which the eye witness saw the accused; (b) The length of time the witness saw the accused; (c) The lighting conditions at the crime scene; and (d) The opportunity of close observation of the defendant by the witness. (e) The description of the accused given to the Police soon after the incident. See: Ikemson Vs The State (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.110) 455 @ 478 and 479; Ochiba Vs The State (2012) ALL FWLR (Pt. 608) 849 @ 871; Thomas Vs The State (2017) LPELR 41735 (SC) © 24-25 D-A.

— E. Eko, JSC. Lawali v State (2019) – SC.272/2017

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MEANING AND NATURE OF IDENTIFICATION PARADE

Identification parade by its nature is the means of establishing whether a person charged with an offence is the same person who committed the offence. It is essential in instances where:- (a) The victim did not know the accused before and his first acquaintance with him was during the commission of the offence. (b) The victim or witness was confronted by the offender for a very short time. (c) The victim due to time and circumstances might not have had the full opportunity of observing the features of the accused.

— S.D. Bage, JSC. Kekong v State (2017) – SC.884/2014

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WHEN IDENTIFICATION PARADE IS SAID TO NOT BE PROPERLY CONDUCTED

Identification parade would not be properly conducted when the witness is asked leading questions like “Is this the person?” or when a police officer nods in the direction of the accused person … Where the identification parade is improper, the accused must be given the benefit of the doubt.

– Ogunwumiju JCA. Okeke v. State (2016)

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