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WHEN IDENTIFICATION PARADE IS SAID TO NOT BE PROPERLY CONDUCTED

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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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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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WHAT IS IDENTIFICATION PARADE?

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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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 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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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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IDENTIFICATION PARADE HAS ITS WEAKNESSES; DEFENCE COUNSEL MUST BE WARY TO IMPUGN IDENTIFICATION

The learned Appellants counsel seems to hold a strong impression, though erroneous, that without a proper identification parade the identification of the Appellant by the PW1 was faulty. There is nothing magical about identification parade. It also has human errors associated with it. And it is for this reason that Oputa, JSC, stated in lKEMSON v. THE STATE (supra) at page 478 that identification parade itself, is not foolproof nor is it a guarantee against the usual errors of observation, errors of recognition or errors of reconstruction. His Lordship in the judgment cited two cases: of The Trial of Adolf Beck ed E.R. Watson (Edinburgh 1924); and Walter Graham Rowland (1947) 32 C.R. App. 29. There was identification parade in the Rowland’s case. Rowland was identified by three independent witnesses as the murderer. However, subsequently Mr Ware confessed that he, and not Rowland, was the actual murderer. Identification of offenders, whether through witness(es) or identification parade: because of its importance to criminal law justice or jurisprudence; trial Courts are admonished to be satisfied that the evidence of identification proves beyond reasonable doubt that the accused before the Court was the person who actually committed the alleged offence. It is the duty of the defence counsel, through purposeful cross-examination, to cast reasonable doubt on the witness’s identification of the accused person by exposing errors of observation, of recognition, of resemblance etc. See Oputa, JSC in IKEMSON v. STATE (supra) at page 479.

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

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