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NOT EVERY APPEAL ON ERROR WILL SUCCEED; THE ERROR MUST OCCASION A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE

Dictum

I think I ought to point out in this connection that even if there was any error in the procedure the evidence of the fourth defendant was taken, and I clearly do not so hold, it is not every error or mistake that will result in an appeal against the judgment in a suit being allowed. It is only when the error is substantial in that it has occasioned a miscarriage of justice that an appellate court is bound to interfere. (See Onajobi v Olanipekun (1985) 4 SC (Part 2) 156 at 163; Ukejianya v Uchendu 13 WACA 45, at 46; Anyanwu v Mbara (1992) 5 NWLR (Part 242) 386 at 400; Azuetonma lke v Ugboaja (1993) 6 NWLR (Part 301) 539 at 556 etc.).

— Iguh JSC. Chime v Chime (2001) – SC 179/1991

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AN ERROR THAT DID NOT MISLEAD IS NOT FATAL

This Court has held in a number of decided cases that a defect, error or omission that does not prejudice the defence would not lead to the quashing of a conviction on a charge for a known offence. The emphasis is not on whether or not there were defects, errors or omissions in the charge, but on whether or not those defects, errors or omissions could and did infact mislead the defence.

– J.I Okoro, JSC. Makanjuola v. State (2021)

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WHAT IS MISDIRECTION

See ACHILIHU VS ANYATONWU (2013) 1 SCNJ 332 at 359 thus: “The exception is where there is misdirection by the trial Court. Misdirection occurs where issues of fact in the case for the parties or the law applicable to the issue raised are not fairly appraised or considered or misconceived or the law applicable is incorrectly applied by the trial Court as a result there would be a miscarriage of justice if the decision reached is allowed to stand.”

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EXCEPT ACCUSED IS MISLED AN ERROR IS NOT MATERIAL

It has to be pointed out that by virtue of Section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Act, no error in stating the offence or the particulars required to be stated in the charge and no omission to state the offence or those particulars shall be regarded at any stage of the case as material unless the accused was infact misled by such error or omission.

– M. Peter-Odili, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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FOR REVERSAL OF AN ERROR, A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE MUST HAVE OCCURED

Again to be said is that it is not every error of law that is committed by a trial or appellate Court that justifies the reversal of a judgment. For a reversal to take place, the error must have occasioned a miscarriage of justice as it was material in the decision reached.

– M. Peter-Odili JSC. Adegbanke v. Ojelabi (2021)

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