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CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT CAN GROUND THE CONVICTION OF AN ACCUSED

Dictum

It is now axiomatic that a confessional statement can ground the conviction of an accused person provided that it is direct and positive. It is therefore no longer debatable that a man may be convicted on his confessional statement alone which is voluntary, free, positive, so long as the Court is satisfied of its truth. Such a confession would constitute proof of guilt of the maker and suffices as evidence upon which to ground or sustain his conviction.

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

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A RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE

The Appellant may have retracted his Confessional Statement but it is settled that where the Accused says that he did not make the Confession at all, the trial Court is entitled to admit it in evidence, and thereafter, decide whether or not he made the said Confession, at the conclusion of trial. So, a retracted Confession is admissible in evidence Ikpasa v. State (supra), Sule V. State (2009) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1169) 33. However, the trial Court is enjoined to look for some evidence outside the Confessional Statement, which renders it plausible or true. This entails examining his new version of events that is different from his retracted confessional Statement, then the trial Court must ask – Is there anything outside the confession, which shows it may be true? Is it corroborated in anyway?

— A.A. Augie, JSC. Usman v The State (2019) – SC.228/2016

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TRIAL-WITHIN-TRIAL IS TO DETERMINE VOLUNTARINESS OF CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT

I must emphasise that the function of a court in trial within trial is narrowed down to determining solely the question of voluntariness of the statement in issue and not on whether or not the statement is that of the accused person or improperly recorded. It boils down to the proposition that there is no way an accused person who has not acknowledged his alleged confessional statement sought to be tendered by the prosecution in a trial within trial can come round to object to its voluntariness. The absence of his locus to otherwise so contend is indisputable.

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Ibeme v. State (2013)

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CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT – CONFIRMATION BY SUPERIOR OFFICER MAY BE DISPENSED WITH

Confirmation before a superior police officer of a statement made by the accused that he was the one who committed the crime may be dispensed with and the confessional statement may be admitted if there is no suspicion of such statement not being voluntary. See MUSA KASA v. THE STATE (1994) 6 SCNJ.

– Galadima, JSC. Kingsley v. State (2016)

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SIX TESTS CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT MUST PASS IF RETRACTED

Where a confessional statement is retracted as in this case, the Court then shall decide the weight it would attach to the confessional statement. The best way to go about it is by subjecting the confession to the underlisted six tests, namely: (a) Is there anything outside the confession to show that it is true? (b) Is the confessional statement corroborated (c) Are the statements made in it of facts and so far as we can test them, true? (d) Is the accused person a person who had the opportunity of committing the offence (e) Is his confession possible? (f) Is it consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and which have been proved at the trial See Kareem v FRN (2003) 16 WRN 114; Kolawole v State (2015) EJSC (Vol.3) 41; Dibie v State (2007) 1 ALL FWLR (pt.363) 83; Ejinima v State (1991) 5 LRCN 1640; Bature v State (1994)1 NWLR (pt.320) 267.

— Amiru Sanusi, JSC. Ogunleye Tobi v The State (2019) – SC.714/2017

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THE EFFECT OF A CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT

A confessional statement which is voluntarily made is an admission by the maker that he committed the offence. it is the best evidence in support of the case of the prosecution against an accused person. however, such evidence, apart from being voluntarily made, must be positive, direct, pungent and consistent with other facts as proved in the case.

– Adamu Jauro, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS THE BEST EVIDENCE

Confessional statement is the best evidence to ground conviction and, as held in a number of cases, it can be relied upon solely where voluntary. The criminal guilt of an accused person could be established by confessional statement, circumstantial evidence and evidence of an eye witness. A confessional statement of the Appellant that was free and voluntary led to the crystallisation of the procedure stipulated under Section 156 and 157 of the CPC, which 17 were duly applied as held above. A confessional statement does not become inadmissible even if the accused person denied having made it. This has been the settled position in our jurisprudence of criminal justice.

— S.D. Bagel, JSC. Mohammed v. COP (2017) – SC.625/2014

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