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ORAL EVIDENCE MORE CREDIBLE IF SUPPORTED BY DOCUMENT

Dictum

The position of the law is that once documentary evidence supports oral evidence, such oral evidence becomes more credible. The reasoning is premised on the fact and the law that documentary evidence serves as a hanger from which to assess oral testimony.

– Rhodes-Vivour, JSC. Ukeje v. Ukeje (2014)

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DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE WEIGHS ORAL TESTIMONY

The Documentary evidence lends weight to oral testimony. It serves as an action from which oral testimony is weighed for good measure. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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ORAL EVIDENCE INADMISSIBLE TO CONTRADICT DOCUMENT

It is trite law that oral evidence is inadmissible to contradict the contents of a document. In other words oral testimony cannot be used to state the content of a document. This is so, because documents when tendered and admitted in court are like words uttered and do speak for themselves. They are more reliable and authentic then words from the vocal cord of man as they are neither transient nor subject to distortion and miss-interpretation but remain permanent and indelible through the ages.

– Muntaka- coomassie, JSC. Ogundele v. Agiri (2009) – SC

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ORAL EVIDENCE CANNOT CONTRADICT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

Can this evidence pass for its content of oral agreement of a yearly tenancy to vitiate the termination of the lease in 1980? Can the bare ipse dixit of a witness of the existence of oral evidence turn around in his favour in the face of clear documentary evidence to the contrary? I have a few more questions to ask but I can stop here.

– Tobi JSC. Odutola v. Papersack (2007)

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DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE SHOULD BE A HANGER TO ACCESS ORAL TESTIMONY

“No doubt the legal proposition that where there is oral as well as documentary evidence, documentary evidence should be as a hanger from which to assess oral testimony is a sound one.” – per Nnaemeka Agu, J.S.C. in Kimdey & Ors. v. Military Governor of Gongola State & Ors. (1988) 2 NWLR (Pt.77) 445; (1988) 1 NSCC 827, 851.

— Ogundare, JSC. Ibrahim v Barde (1996) – SC.74/1995

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ORAL EVIDENCE MUST BE DIRECT – SECTION 126 EVIDENCE ACT 2011

It is correct, as submitted, that Section 126(a)-(d) of the Evidence Act, 2011 provides inter alia that “oral evidence must, in all cases whatever, be direct”. The rationale for the rule can be said to be: (1) The unreliability of the original maker of the statement who is not in Court and not cross-examined; (2) The depreciation of the truth arising from repetition; (3) Opportunities for fraud; (4) The tendency of such evidence to lead to prolonged inquiries and proceedings; (5) Hearsay evidence tends to encourage the substitution of weaker evidence for stronger evidence.

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Brila Energy Ltd. v. FRN (2018) – CA/L/658CA/2017

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NO LAW PROHIBITS RELATIONS FROM TESTIFYING IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL

There is no law, it should be pointed out, which prohibits relations of the victim of a crime or otherwise from testifying for the prosecution in a case against an accused person charged in the commission of such crime. As a result, a witness cannot properly be described and treated as a tainted witness by reason only of his blood, marriage or other relationship with the victim of the crime in respect of which he testified as a witness for the prosecution.

– M.L. Garba JCA. Odogwu v. Vivian (2009) – CA/PH/345/05

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