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MEANING OF A PERVERSE FINDING

Dictum

A perverse finding is a wrong, unreasonable or unacceptable finding, having due regard to the evidence before the court. A perverse finding is one not supported by the evidence before the court. It is a finding raised on a wrong assessment of the evidence before the court. A finding of fact based on exaggerated or bloated evidence on the part of the trial court could be perverse. So too finding of fact borne out from addition or subtraction from the evidence before the court.

— Niki Tobi, JSC. Buhari v. INEC (2008) – SC 51/2008

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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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WHERE FACTS PROPERLY APPRAISED, COURT OF APPEAL SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE VIEWS FOR TRIAL COURT

It is settled that where a court of trial unquestionably evaluates the evidence and appraises the facts it is not the business of a Court of Appeal to substitute its own views for the trial court. It is equally settled that a Court of Appeal should not easily disturb the findings of fact of a trial Judge who had the singular opportunity of listening to the witnesses and watching their performance although such findings of fact or the inferences drawn from them may be questioned in certain circumstances (See for example Akinola v. Fatoyimbo Oluwo & 0rs ( 1962) 1 SCNLR 352: (1962) 1 All NLR 244: Fabumiyi & 0rs. V. Obaje & Anor (1968) NMLR 242; Fatoyinbo Williams (1956) SCNLR 274: (1956) 1 FSC 87.

— Kutigi, JSC. Awaogbo & Ors. v. Eze (1995) – SC.69/1991

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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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DUTY OF COURT TO MAKE FINDINGS OF FACT ON EVIDENCE

The point must be made that, it is the primary duty of a trial Court to make findings of fact on evidence adduced before it and ascribe due probative value to same. It is only when the trial court abdicates its duty or fails to perform it properly that an appellate court can step in to perform such a function. Even then, an appellate court can only do so, if the demeanour of witnesses is not in point.

– Afolabi Fabiyi JCA. Mueller v. Mueller (2005)

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APPELLATE COURT WILL NOT INTERFERE IN FINDING OF FACT

In concluding this Issue, it is now firmly established, that where the question involved are purely those of fact, an Appellate Court, will not interfere, unless the decision of the trial Judge, is shown to be perverse and not the result of a proper exercise of judicial discretion (to believe or disbelieve witnesses) or that there is no evidence at all to support a particular crucial finding or that the trial court made wrong deductions or drew wrong inferences from admitted or established facts. See Ubani & 2 ore, v. The State (2003) 12 SCNJ 111 @ 727-728.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Moses v State [2006] – S.C.308/2002

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