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COURT IS TO RECORD WHAT SIDE HE BELIEVES BEFORE RECORDING FINDING OF FACT

Dictum

My only quarrel with the judgment of the learned trial Judge is that he recorded his findings before indicating what side he believed. This is a very wrong approach. After a review of the evidence of witnesses who gave conflicting accounts, the trial Judge ought to have indicated what side he believed before recording his findings because it is on the credibility of those witnesses that proper findings can be made. If a witness is not believed no finding of fact can be founded on his evidence.

— Oputa JSC. Onwuka & Ors. V. Ediala & Anor. (SC.18/1987, 20 January 1989)

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WHAT IS A PERVERSE FINDING?

A perverse finding is when it runs against and counter to the evidence led and the pleadings of the parties or where it has been shown that the trial judge took into consideration or account of matters which he ought not to have taken into account or shuts his eyes to the obvious. See: Akinloye v. Eyiola (1968) NWLR 92; Isah Onu and Ors v. Ibrahim Idu and Ors (2006) 6 SCNJ 23 at Pg. 45-46.

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

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INFERENCE NOT FRESH POINT OF LAW

An appellate court can draw conclusion or make inference from the record before it. Conclusion or inference borne out of/from the record cannot be branded as raising fresh point of law. A fresh point of law is a new point of law which was not raised by any of the parties at the trial of the case. A point of law which was raised by the parties at the trial cannot be a fresh point of law.

– Niki Tobi JSC. Gbadamosi v. Dairo (2007)

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PROPER EVALUATION OF FACT NEEDS NO INTERFERENCE FROM APPELLATE COURT

The law is also common knowledge that where a trial Court fails to properly discharge that primary duty or the evaluation value ascribed to and inference/findings made thereon cannot be supported by the evidence adduced before that Court, then an appellate Court is entitled to intervene and interfere with such decisions of the trial Court … However where a trial Court has unquestionably and properly evaluated the evidence adduced before it, an appellate Court has no business to and is usually slow in interfering with decisions arising from such an exercise.

– M.L. Garba JCA. Odogwu v. Vivian (2009) – CA/PH/345/05

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FACTS ACCEPTED AND NOT CONTROVERTED WILL LEAD TO CONVICTION

In Peter Igho v. The State (1978) 3 SC 87 the facts as set out in the judgment were that the deceased, lfoto Oboluke, left her house on Sunday 20th August, 1972 for a religious service but never returned alive. When the mother did not see her return in the evening she made a report and a search party was organised by the villagers. Those who saw her last said she was riding at the back of a bicycle. The corpse of the deceased was later found that night. This Court per Eso JSC upholding the verdict of the trial court on the conviction of the appellant said: “The only irresistible inference from the circumstances presented by the evidence in this case is that the appellant killed the deceased. We can find no other reasonable inference from the circumstances of the case. The facts which were accepted by the learned trial Judge amply supported by the evidence before him, called for an explanation and beyond the untrue denials of the appellant (as found by the learned trial Judge) none was forthcoming. See R. v. Mary Ann Nash (1911) 6 C.A.R. 225 at page 228. Though this constitutes circumstantial evidence, it is proof beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the appellant.”

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WHERE FINDING OF COURT NOT APPEALED

The law is that a finding or holding of a Court, not appealed against or challenged, remains binding and conclusive. – Mbaba JCA. Aduba v. Aduba (2018)

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IF NO PERVERSITY IS SHOWN, FINDINGS OF FACT WILL NOT BE DISTURBED

The trial Tribunal and the court below have arrived at concurrent findings of fact and the attitude of the Supreme Court is replete in a number of judicial authorities which is that except there is established miscarriage of justice or violation of some principle of law or procedure or the findings are perverse the Supreme Court will not disturb such findings. See ADAKU AMADE V. EDWARD NWOSU (1992) 6 SCNJ 59. ONWUJUBA V. OBIENU (1991) 4 NWLR (PART 188) 16; OGUNDIYAN V. STATE (1991) 3 NWLR (PART 181) 519; IYARO V. THE STATE 1 NWLR (PART 69) 256. The list is indeed inexhaustive. I do not find the findings of fact bedeviled by any of these lapses.

— Alaoga, JSC. Akeredolu v. Mimiko (2013) – SC. 352/2013

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