Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

ADMISSIBILITY VERSUS FROM PROBATIVE VALUE

Dictum

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

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

RELEVANCY AND ADMISSIBILITY DISTINCTION

Relevancy and weight are in quite distinct compartments in our law of evidence. They convey two separate meanings in our adjectival law and not in any form of dovetail. In the order of human action or activity, in the area of the law of evidence, relevancy comes before weight. Relevancy, which propels admissibility, is invoked by the trial Judge immediately the document is tendered. At that stage, the Judge applies sections 6, 7, 8 and other relevant provisions of the Evidence Act to determine the relevance or otherwise of the document tendered. If the document is relevant, the Judge admits it, if all other aspects of our adjectival law are in favour of such admission. If the document is irrelevant, it is rejected with little or no ado. Weight comes in after the document has been admitted. This is at the stage of writing the judgment or ruling as the case may be. At that stage the Judge is involved in the evaluation or the evidence vis-a-vis the document admitted. While logic is the determinant of admissibility and relevancy, weight is a matter of law with some taint of facts.

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

Was this dictum helpful?

COURT CAN ONLY ACT ON ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE

There is no doubt, however, that a court is expected in all proceedings before it to admit and act only on evidence which is admissible in law (i.e. under the Evidence Act or any other law or enactment relevant in any particular case) and so if the court should inadvertently admit inadmissible evidence it has a duty generally not to act upon it. When, however, inadmissible evidence is tendered it is the duty of the opposite (or adverse) party or his counsel to object immediately to the admissibility of such evidence; although if the opposite party should fail to raise objection in such circumstances the court in civil cases may (and, in criminal case, must) reject such evidence ex proprio motu. On appeal, however, different considerations arise where a party failed to take objection to inadmissible evidence in the court of trial. It has frequently been stated (as, indeed, learned counsel for the appellant has done) that where a matter has been improperly received in evidence in the court below, even when no objection has been there raised, it is the duty of the court of appeal to reject it and to decide the case on legal evidence.

— Ogundare, JSC. Kossen v Savannah Bank (1995) – SC.209/89

Was this dictum helpful?

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

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

Was this dictum helpful?

APPEAL ON WRONGFUL ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE

If the error of law is the wrongful admission of evidence, the appellant must show that, without the admission of the evidence, the decision would have been otherwise.

– Adio, JSC. UBN v. Ozigi (1994)

Was this dictum helpful?

TYPES OF INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE (BY LAW OR BY FULFILLMENT OF CERTAIN CONDITIONS)

In a trial by a Judge alone, as in the case in hand, a distinction must be drawn between those cases where the evidence complained of is in no circumstances admissible in law and where the evidence complained of is admissible under certain conditions. In the former class of cases the evidence cannot be acted upon even if parties admitted it by consent and the court of appeal will entertain complaint on the admissibility of such evidence by the lower court (although the evidence was admitted in the lower court without objection); in the latter class of case, if the evidence was admitted in the lower court without objection or by consent of parties or was used by the opposite party (e.g. for the purpose of cross-examination) then it would be within the competence of the trial court to act on it and the court of appeal will not entertain any complaint on the admissibility of such evidence.

— Ogundare, JSC. Kossen v Savannah Bank (1995) – SC.209/89

Was this dictum helpful?

RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS STILL ADMISSIBLE

In ASIMI V. STATE (2016) LPELR – 40436 (SC), this Court per Rhodes Vivour JSC at Pp 14-15, para E-C stated succinctly thus: 22 “Once, an extra-judicial confession has been proved as in this case to have been made voluntarily and it is positive and unequivocal, amounting to an admission of guilt (such as the appellant’s confessional statement, Exhibit P6) a Court can convict on it even if the appellant retracted or resiled from it at trial. Such an afterthought does not make the confession inadmissible. It is desirable but not mandatory that there is general corroboration of the important incidents and not that retracted confession should be corroborated in each material particular.”

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.