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FAILURE TO PROVIDE AN INTERPRETER FOR AN ACCUSED IS NOT FATAL

Dictum

In any case, I hold that failure to provide an interpreter where an accused person is represented by counsel, and there is/was no objection raised at the trial court, this will not result in vitiating the trial or result in disturbing or interfering with the judgment of a trial court. It will or may be a different thing where there is no counsel representing the accused person and where such failure will or has led to a miscarriage of justice or that the accused person has been prejudiced thereby as a result.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Udosen v State (2007) – SC.199/2005

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INTERPRETER OF AN ACCUSED STATEMENT MUST BE CALLED

It is indeed the law that an accused person’s statement should, as much as possible, be taken down in the exact words of the accused person. Where the statement is thereafter translated into English by another person, the interpreter must be called as a witness in order for the statement in English to be admissible in evidence. Where that interpreter is not called, the statement in English will be regarded as hearsay evidence and will therefore be inadmissible

– Eyop v. State (2018) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1615) 273 (SC) per Sanusi, J.S.C.

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THE COURT IS TO CONSIDER DEFENCES FOR THE ACCUSED

In criminal trial, not only must the defences of the accused be considered, the Court is bound to consider the defences available to the accused which the accused himself did not raise, especially where the accused is facing a trial in which his life is at stake. See Nwankwoala v. The State (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt. 1000) 663; Adebayo v. The Republic (1962) NWLR 391; Akpabio v. The State (1994) 7 NWLR (Pt. 359) 653; Oguntolu v. The State (1996) 2 NWLR (Pt. 432) 503; Malam Zakari Ahmed v. The State (1999) 7 NWLR (Pt. 612) 641 at 679 and 681.

— P.A. Galinje JSC. Onuwa Kalu v. The State (SC.474/2011, 13 Apr 2017)

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TAKING A SUSPECT BEFORE A SUPERIOR OFFICER IS NOT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT

The procedure of taking a suspect who has made a confessional statement before a superior officer for confirmation is not a legal requirement. It is an administrative practice that has gained judicial approval, as an additional means of ensuring that a confessional statement is voluntary.

– Kekere-Ekun JSC. Berende v. FRN (2021)

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ONLY EXCEPTION FOR WHEN AN ACCUSED MAY BE ABSENT FROM HIS TRIAL

In any case, the very fact that the 1st appellant and the 3rd appellant were absent in their joint trial in court on 14 June 1999 when the inferior court was addressed and 18 April 2000 when the inferior court delivered its judgment, this exercise of allowing the trial to proceed in the absence of some of the accused persons being jointly tried had rendered the entire proceedings of that court including the judgment a complete nullity for not only denial of fair hearing under section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 but also for failure of that court to give the affected appellants even a hearing that may not be called a fair hearing: Godpower Asakitikpi v. The State (1993) 5 NWLR (Pt. 296) 641 at 657.

— M. Mohammed JSC. The State v. Monsurat Lawal (SC. 80/2004, 15 Feb 2013)

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CO-ACCUSED CANNOT APPEAL APPLICATION REFUSED RELATING TO AN ACCUSED

My Lords, this Appellant, being tried jointly with the 1st Accused, may be a party interested in the outcome of the 1st Accused’s application. He cannot, however, appeal against the ruling in that application without leave of Court first sought and obtained. Doing otherwise, as he has done in this appeal, the Appellant in my view is a busybody meddling in the affairs of the other. See SOCIETE GENERALE BANK (NIG.) LTD. V. 13 AFEKORO (1999) 11 NWLR (pt.628) 521; (1999) 7 SC (pt. iii) 95.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kekong v State (2017) – SC.884/2014

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SUFFICIENTLY RECOGNISED THE ACCUSED PERSON

I quite agree with Aderemi, JSC, when he stated in NDIDI v. THE STATE (supra) that a trial Judge must not only warn himself but must meticulously examine the evidence proffered to see whether there are any weaknesses capable of endangering or rendering worthless any contention that the accused person was sufficiently recognised by the witness.

— E. Eko, JSC. Kekong v State (2017) – SC.884/2014

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