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INFERENCE NOT FRESH POINT OF LAW

Dictum

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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APPEAL: FINDING NOT APPEALED IS BINDING ON PARTY

It is trite law that in an appeal against a judgment, a party who did not appeal against a finding, holding or decision, accepts it as correct, conclusive and binding and cannot argue against it.

– Agim JSC. Pillars v. William (2021)

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UNCHALLENGED FINDINGS OF FACT ARE DEEMED TO BE ADMITTED BY A PARTY

The law is trite that a specific finding of fact by a court which is neither challenged nor appealed is deemed to be an acceptable and admitted fact by the party against whom it was made. In this case, this specific finding of fact was made concurrently by the trial court and the lower court. Such findings of fact, as this Court held in BAKARE v. THE STATE (1987) 3 SC 1, are presumed to be correct. The burden of displacing this presumption is on the party challenging the specific finding, as this Respondent purports to do belatedly and without any cross-appeal. The burden, as Agim, JCA, stated in DONATUS OKAFOR v. IFEANYIISIADINSO (2014) LPELR – 14 23013 (CA), is not discharged by a mere assertion that the findings is wrong.

— E. Eko, JSC. CITEC v. Edicomisa (2017) – SC. 163 2006

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

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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NATIVE CUSTOM IS A QUESTION OF FACT

Native law and custom being a question of fact in an action in the High Court, it is true that the findings in these cases are not binding as precedents, and it is also true, as has been pointed out by Mr Oseni on behalf of the respondents, that however learned and experienced the Judges whose judgments are relied on may have been, they could only act on the evidence which the parties in the cases concerned chose to call before them.

Odunsi Lasisi Ajibola v. Aminu Akindele Ajani Ojora (1961)

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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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FINDING NOT APPEALED MUST NOT BE DISTURBED BY APPELLATE COURT

In the case of Oshodi vs Eyifunmi (2000) FWLR (pt. 8) 1271 at 1305 per Iguh, JSC, this court held as follows: “In this regard, it is to be emphasised that the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal is to hear and determine appeals from the High Courts. If a finding or decision of a trial court, whether on an issue of fact or law is not challenged in an appeal to the Court of Appeal, such finding or decision, rightly or wrongly, must not be disturbed for the purposes of the appeal in question – see Nwabueze vs Okoye (1988) 4NWLR(pt. 91)664. …… Perhaps I should also add that when an issue is not placed before an appellate court, it has no business whatsoever to deal with it – see Florence Olusanya vs Olufemi Olusanya (1983) 3 S.C 41 at 56 – 57.”

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