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GUIDING PRINCIPLES IN ESTABLISHING INSANITY

Dictum

In NWOYE IGWEZE ONYEKWE v. THE STATE (1988) LPELR 2732 (SC), this Court detailed some of the guiding principles in establishing insanity viz: 1. Evidence as to the past history of the accused. 2. Evidence as to his conduct immediately preceding the killing of the deceased. 3. Evidence from Prison Warders who had custody of the accused and looked after him during his trial. 4. Evidence from Medical Officers and/or Psychiatrists who examined the accused. 5. Evidence of relatives about the general behaviour of the accused and the reputation he enjoyed for sanity or insanity in his neighbourhood. 6. Evidence showing that insanity appears in the family history of the accused. See also UDOFIA v. STATE (1988) LPELR 3305 (SC).

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WHAT IS REQUIRED TO PROVE INSANITY

In order to succeed in a plea of insanity, the Appellant must before the trial Court, prove on the balance of probability that as at the time of committing the offence, he lacked the capacity to; 1. Understand what he was doing 2. Control his actions 3. Know that he ought not to act or make the omission See BABANGIDA JOHN v THE STATE (2012) 7 NWLR (PT 1299) 336.

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

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BURDEN TO PROVE INSANITY

The law is settled that the burden of proof of insanity lies on the accused person. In NDU v THE STATE 1990 LPELR-1975 SC this Court held as follows: The law is that the burden of proving insanity rests on the accused person. Of course the burden of proof which he has to discharge is a light one. It is a proof by a preponderance of evidence or on a balance of probability. The defense of insanity is a plea which must be positively put forward by way of defence and evidence should be adduced in support.

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

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INSANITY IS PROVED ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABILITY

In ANI V THE STATE (2002) 10 NWLR PT 776 644, this Court had this to say; The burden on the accused to prove his insanity, however is merely as in civil cases that is to say on the balance of probability or the preponderance of evidence.

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