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COURT WILL ACT ON UNCHALLENGED EVIDENCE

Dictum

The law is well settled that where the evidence given by a party to any proceedings was not challenged by the opposite party who had the opportunity to do so, it is always open to the court seised of the case to act on such unchallenged evidence before it. See Isaac Omoregbe v. Daniel Lawani (1980) 3 – 4 SC 108 at 117, Odulaja v. Haddad (1973) 11 SC 357, Nigerian Maritime Services Ltd. v. Alhaji Bello Afolabi (1978) 2 SC 79 at 81, Abel Boshali v. Allied Commercial Exporters Ltd. (1961) 2 SCNLR 322, (1961) All NLR 917.

— Iguh, JSC. Olohunde v. Adeyoju (2000) – SC.15/1995

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COMPETENCY IS A MATTER OF UNDERSTANDING

And, apart from this, there is a long line of authorities establishing that competency is not a matter of age but of understanding and that if a child understands the nature of an oath, the provisions in question are completely out of place. See Reg. v. Perkins (1840) 9 C. & P. 395 (or 173 E.R.884); also R. v. Michael Moscovitch (1924) 18 CAR 37. – Coker JSC. Okoye v. State (1972)

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EVIDENCE BY WITNESS IN PREVIOUS PROCEEDINGS CANNOT BE USED IN LATER PROCEEDING

It is settled law that evidence given in a previous case cannot be accepted as evidence in a subsequent proceedings except in conditions where the provisions of section 34(1) of the Evidence Act applies. Even where a witness who testified in a previous proceeding testifies again in a subsequent proceeding, the previous evidence has no greater value than its use in cross-examination of the witness as to his credit. Romaine v. Romaine (1972) 4 NWLR (Part 238) 650 at 669; Ayinde v. Salawu (1989) 3 NWLR (Part 109) 297 at 315; Alade v. Aborishade (1960) 5 FSC 167; Irenye v. Opune (1985) 2 NWLR (Part 5) 1 at 6-8 Sanyaolu v. Coker (1983) 1 SCNLR 168.

— F.F. Tabai JSC. Tijani Dada v Jacob Bankole (2008) – S.C. 40/2003

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EVIDENCE ADMISSIBLE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS vs EVIDENCE NOT ADMISSIBLE AT ALL

In Unity Life and Fire Insurance Company Ltd V. International Bank of West Africa (2001) LPELR-3412 (SC) (2001) NWLR (Pt 713) 610 this Court in restating the principle has held at pages 21 22; page 627 of the reports as follows: “A distinction must however, be drawn between where the evidence complained of is one which by law is prima facie admissible albeit under stipulated conditions as against where such evidence is by law inadmissible in any event and in all circumstances. In the latter class of cases, such evidence ought never to be acted upon by any Court of law whether, of first instance or of appeal, and it is immaterial that its admission in evidence was by the default or consent of the party complaining in failing to raise the necessary objection at the appropriate time. In other words, where the evidence complained of is by law inadmissible in any event and all circumstances, the evidence cannot be acted upon by any Court of law even if the party complaining failed to raise any objection or consented to the admission of such evidence in the proceeding. The appellate Court in such circumstance is duty bound to entertain a complaint on the admissibility of such evidence by the trial Court, reject it if it finds it absolutely inadmissible in any event and in all circumstances and decide the case on the legal evidence before the Court…”

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MEANING OF JUDGEMENT AGAINST WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE

A castigation of a decision on the premise that a judgment is against the weight of evidence, invariably couched as an omnibus ground, connotes that the decision of the trial Court cannot be supported by the weight of evidence advanced by the successful party which the Court either wrongly accepted or that the inference it drew or conclusion it reached, based on the accepted evidence, is unjustifiable in law. Also, it implies that there is no evidence, which if accepted, will buttress the finding of the trial Court. Furthermore, it denotes that when the evidence adduced by the complaining appellant is weighed against that given by the respondent, the judgment rendered to the respondent is against the totality of the evidence placed before the trial Court. In ascertaining the weight of evidence, the trial Court is enjoined, by law, to consider whether the evidence is admissible, relevant, credible, conclusive or more probable than that given by the other party, see Mogaji v. Odofin (1978) 3 SC 91; Anyaoke v. Adi (1986) 2 NSCC, Vol. 17, 799 at 806/(1986) 3 NWLR (Pt. 31) 731; Nwokidu v. Okanu (supra) (2010)3 NWLR (Pt. 1181)362; Akinlagun v. Oshoboja (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 993) 60; Gov. Lagos State v. Adeyiga (2012) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1293) 291; Oyewole v. Akande (2009) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1163) 11; Agala v. Okusin (2010) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1202) 412.

— O.F. Ogbuinya, JCA. Impact Solutions v. International Breweries (2018) – CA/AK/122/2016

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JUDGE MUST EVALUATE THE EVIDENCE

The justice of a case and statutory requirements will not be met if the trial Court considers only one side of a case. Adequate consideration must be given to both sides. In discharging this duty, the Judge must evaluate all the evidence. It is not the justice of a case if the Judge, without evaluating the evidence, holds that he believes one side and disbelieves the other. Only an evaluation of the evidence will logically lead to his reasons for believing or disbelieving. However, Judges differ in style. Nevertheless, whichever style a Judge uses or adopts, the important thing is that he considers all the evidence before him by evaluation before arriving at his conclusion which is the finding.

– Sankey JCA. Abdul v. State (2021)

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ANY OFFICIAL CAN GIVE TESTIMONY FOR A COMPANY

Comet Shipp. Agencies Ltd v. Babbit Ltd (2001) FWLR (Pt. 40) 1630, (2001) 7 NWLR (Pt. 712) 442, 452 paragraph B, per Galadima JCA (as he then was ) held that: “Companies have no flesh and blood. Their existence is a mere legal abstraction. They must therefore, of necessity, act through their directors, managers and officials. Any official of a company well placed to have personal knowledge of any particular transaction in which a company is engaged can give evidence of such transaction.”

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