Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS THE BEST EVIDENCE IN NIGERIA CRIMINAL LAW

Dictum

I entirely agree with the contention of the Respondent’s counsel that the nature of the corroborative evidence required does not need to be direct evidence linking the Defendant to the commission of the offence. Circumstantial evidence is sufficient, particularly where it leads to no other conclusion than the guilt of the Defendant. I agree with the Respondent’s counsel that a confessional statement is the best evidence in Nigerian criminal jurisprudence as it is direct evidence by the perpetrator giving the reasons for and how the offence was committed. So long as it is voluntary and it is a direct and positive admission of guilt, it can be used to convict even where it has been retracted.

– Ogunwumiju JSC. Junaidu v. State (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT CAN GROUND THE CONVICTION OF AN ACCUSED

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)

Was this dictum helpful?

RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT MUST PASS THESE TESTS

In other words, the retracted confession must pass the six credibility tests forming part of our criminal jurisprudence which have been established in a long fine of cases referred to above. These are: i. Is there anything outside the confession to show that it is true? ii. Is it corroborated? iii. Are the relevant statements made in it of facts true as far as they can be tested? iv. Was the accused one who had the opportunity of committing murder? v. Is his confession possible? vi. Is it consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and have been proved?

– H.M. Ogunwumiju, JSC. State v. Ibrahim (2021) – SC.200/2016

Was this dictum helpful?

STATEMENTS SHOULD BE RECORDED IN LANGUAGE MADE

Olanipekun v. State (2016) LPELR-40440(SC) 8, B-D, Aka’ahs, J.S.C. expressed the position of the case law as follows: “Statements should be, wherever practicable, recorded in the language in which they are made. This is a practical wisdom directed to avoid technical arguments which could be raised. It is not an invariable practice but one to ensure the correctness and accuracy of the statements made by the accused persons.”

Was this dictum helpful?

TEST TO PROVE CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT

The tests for determining the voluntariness of a confessional statement have been consistently applied by this Court in a plethora of cases as follows: (1) Whether there is anything outside the confession to show that it is true. (2) Whether the statement is corroborated, no matter how slight (3) Whether the facts contained therein, so far as can be tested, are true. (4) Whether the accused person had the opportunity of committing the offence. (5) Whether the confession of the accused person was possible. (6) Whether the confession was consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and proved in the matter.

– J.I. Okoro JSC. Berende v. FRN (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT MUST MEET FOLLOWING TESTS

My Lords, the confessional statement of the Appellant was retracted by him in the course of the trial and the position of the law as reiterated by this Court in several cases is that the statement must meet the probability test set out in R. v. Sykes (1913) 18 CR All Pg. 233: a) Whether there is anything outside it to show the statement is true, b) Whether it is corroborated, c) Whether the statement made in it of fact so far as they can be tested are true, d) Whether the accused had the opportunity of committing the offence, e) Whether it is consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and have been proved.

– Ogunwumiju JSC. Junaidu v. State (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

CONVICTION CAN BE FOUNDED ON RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT

The law is trite that a conviction can be found on a retracted confessional statement of an accused person once it is voluntary, positive and true. Where an accused person objects to the tendering of his confessional statement on the ground that he did not make it, the confession will be admitted and the question as to whether he made it or not will be decided at the end of the trial, since the issue of its voluntariness does not arise for consideration. See: Dibia v. State (2017) LPELR 48453 SC.

— Abdu Aboki, JSC. Abdulrahim Usman v. The State (SC.61C/2019, Friday May 06, 2022)

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.