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A DOCUMENT MARKED REJECTED STAYS REJECTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIAL

Dictum

The well laid down procedure for omitting documents in evidence is for the trial judge to hear arguments for and against the admissibility of the document, then render a Ruling. If the ruling is favourable to the document being admitted in evidence the document is admitted in evidence and marked as an exhibit. If on the other hand the Ruling is unfavourable the document is marked rejected. A document marked as an exhibit is good evidence that the judge is expected to rely on when preparing his judgment. A document tendered and marked rejected cannot be tendered again. Once a document is marked rejected it stays rejected for the purposes of the trial in which it was marked rejected and the defect cannot be cured during the said trial. See Agbaje v. Adigun & Ors (1993) 1 NWLR Pt.269 p.271.

— O. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Wassah & Ors. v. Kara & Ors. (2014) – SC.309/2001

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A DOCUMENT WHICH IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PLEADINGS IS ADMISSIBLE

A document is admissible in evidence if it is relevant to the facts in issue and admissible in law. The converse position is also the law, and it is that a document which is irrelevant to the facts in issue is not admissible. Documents which are tendered to establish facts pleaded cannot be rejected on the ground of irrelevancy in so far as they confirm the facts pleaded. See Oyetunji v. Akaniji (1986) 5 NWLR (Pt. 42) 461. In other words, a document which is consistent with the pleadings is admissible, if the document is admissible in law. —

N. Tobi JSC. Musa Abubakar v. E.I. Chuks (SC.184/2003, 14 DEC 2007)

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REPORTS BY INTERESTED PERSONS ARE INADMISSIBLE

It is therefore evident from the above that PW4, PW7 and PW8 are persons interested in the outcome of this proceedings. The reports produced by PW4 and PW8 qualify as statements made by persons interested in anticipation or during the pendency of this Petition. As for PW7 she is admittedly an interested party having been a member of and even contested election under the umbrella of the 2nd Petitioner. Her interest is further underscored by the fact that she admitted under cross examination that she was attending court throughout the proceedings prior to her evidence. By virtue of Section 83(3) of the Evidence Act, 2011, the reports tendered by those witnesses which form part of their evidence are inadmissible.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Peter Obi & Anor. v INEC & Ors. (2023) – CA/PEPC/03/2023

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REQUIREMENT FOR ADMISSIBILITY

It is trite, that the basic principle on admissibility in law, is whether the documents are duly pleaded; whether they are relevant to the facts in issue and whether they are admissible in Law? See the cases of AONDO AKAA V OBOT 7 OR 2021 SC; TORTI V UKPABI 1984 1 SC PG 370 and DIKIBO & ORS V IZIME 2019 LPELR – 48992-CA. There is no gainsaying the fact, that the certified true copies admitted by the court met the criteria on admissibility, as relevancy governs admissibility and the said documents were pleaded. See the cases of NAB LTD VS SHUAIBU (1991) 4 NWLR (PT. 186) 450, OKECHUKWU VS INEC (2014) 17 NWLR (PT. 1436) 256 AT 294-295.

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

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ADMISSIBILITY VERSUS FROM PROBATIVE VALUE

There is a clear dichotomy between admissibility of document and placing probative value on it. While admissibility is based on relevance, probative value depends not only on relevance but on proof. An evidence has probative value if it tends to prove an issue.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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COMPLAINT ON WRONGFUL ADMISSION IS A GROUND OF LAW

It is settled law that a complaint about wrongful admission of evidence is a ground of law alone, a ground of appeal complaining that there was no evidence or no admissible evidence upon which a decision was based, is a ground of law. And an issue on legal interpretation of documents will be a ground of law.

– Uwa, JCA. GTB v. Innoson (2014) – CA/I/258/2011

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DEMEANOR PLAYS LITTLE ROLE WHERE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE HAS BEEN ADMITTED

The Supreme Court in Ohijinle vs. Adeagbo (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt. 75) 238 held that where documentary evidence have been admitted in evidence, demeanour plays an insignificant if any role. The documents tendered in the case should be used as a hanger with which to assess oral testimony.

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