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ACCUSED WHO PLEADS GUILTY CAN BE CONVICTED SUMMARILY

Dictum

In the case of F.R.N. v. KAYODE (2019) 6 SC (Pt.1) 165 at 188, this Court, per Galumje, JSC held as follows: “The law is settled that an Accused person who pleads guilty to a criminal charge can be convicted summarily if the Court is satisfied that he intended to admit the truth of all the essentials of the offence.”

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ACCUSED CAN BE CONVICTED ON HIS CONFESSION

The law is trite that an accused person can be convicted solely on his confession if the confession is positive and direct in the admission of the offence charged. In other words, voluntary confession of guilt whether judicial or extra judicial, if it is direct and positive is sufficient proof of the guilt and is enough to sustain a conviction, so long as the Court is satisfied with the truth of such a confession.

– Abdu Aboki, JSC. Chukwu v. State (2021)

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ESSENCE OF AN ACCUSED BEING PRESENT AT HIS CRIMINAL TRIAL

The trial Court having conducted the proceedings of 20/11/2015 in the absence of the Respondent jumped the guns and breached his constitutional right. The essence of the presence of an accused throughout his trial is to afford him an adequate opportunity to play his statutory role and liberty to respond at every stage of the proceedings personally or through a legal practitioner of his own choice for the purpose of ensuring fair hearing.

— U.M. Abba Aji, JSC. State v. Andrew Yanga (SC.712/2018, 15 Jan 2021)

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ACCUSED DUTY TO LET THE COURT KNOW HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE-USED

Appellant’s counsel is vehemently holding unto the position that it was the duty of the trial Court to make available to the Appellant the services of an interpreter because he is an illiterate. It must be pointed out that where the accused does not understand the language used at his trial, it is his duty or his counsel’s duty to bring to the notice of the Court at the earliest opportunity, that he does not understand the language used at trial. I think the duty of ensuring that the right thing is done is not only on the trial Judge. It is a duty as well on a party to a case or his counsel if represented by one.

– A. Jauro JSC. Balogun v. FRN (2021)

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FAILURE OF ACCUSED TO INFORM COURT HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND ENGLISH

The fact that the accused does not understand the language in which the trial is being conducted is a fact well known to the accused and it is for him or his counsel to take the initiative of bringing it to the notice of the Court at the earliest opportunity. If he does not claim the right at the proper time before any damage is done, he may not be able to have a valid complaint afterwards, for example on appeal. Where the accused person refuses to inform the Court that he does not understand English Language, it will be too late for him to seek protection under Section 36(6)(e) of the Constitution to have his conviction set aside through the backdoor.

– A. Jauro JSC. Balogun v. FRN (2021)

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PRIOR CONDUCT OF THE ACCUSED IS ADMISSIBLE TO EXPLAIN ACCUSED’S CONDUCT

Surely, the general rule in criminal as well as in civil cases that the evidence must be confined to the point in issue cannot be applied where the facts which constitute distinct offences are at the same time part of the transaction which is the subject of the charge. Evidence is necessarily admissible as to acts which are so closely and inextricably mixed up with the history of the criminal act itself as to form part of one chain of relevant circumstances, and so could not be excluded in the presentment of the case without the evidence being thereby rendered unintelligible. Thus, in cases of murder, evidence is admissible to show prior assaults by the accused upon the murdered person or menaces uttered to him by the accused, or to show conversely the irritable behaviour by the deceased to the accused. Again, the relations of the murdered man to his assailant, so far as they may reasonably be treated as explanatory of the conduct of the person charged with the crime, can be admitted to prove as integral parts of the history of the alleged crime for which the accused is on his trial. (See R. v. Bond (1906) 2 KB 389 as per Kennedy, J., at pp. 400 and 401).

— Idigbe, JSC. Ishola v State (1978) – SC.8/1977

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SUFFICIENTLY RECOGNISED THE ACCUSED PERSON

I quite agree with Aderemi, JSC, when he stated in NDIDI v. THE STATE (supra) that a trial Judge must not only warn himself but must meticulously examine the evidence proffered to see whether there are any weaknesses capable of endangering or rendering worthless any contention that the accused person was sufficiently recognised by the witness.

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

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