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PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DOES NOT PROOF BEYOND SHADOW OF DOUBT

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However, the required proof beyond reasonable doubt which the prosecution is expected to show does not mean proof beyond all shadow of doubt and the evidence adduced by the prosecution is strong enough against a man, as to leave only a remote probability in his favour, which can be dismissed with the sentence; “of course it is possible but not in the least probable,” then the case is proved beyond reasonable doubt. See; Jimoh Michael Vs. The State (2008) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1104) 361; (2008) 10 SCM 83; (2008) 34 NSCQR (Pt.11) 700.

— O. Ariwoola, JSC. Galadima v. State (2017) – SC.70/2013

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PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DENOTES PROOF TO MORAL CERTAINTY

Invariably, the term proof beyond reasonably as implored in Section 135 of the Evidence Act, denotes proof to moral certainty or standard. Thus, such proof as accords to the conscience of the trial judge as a reasonable Judge, that the crime so charged has indeed been committed by the defendant, thereby leaving no other reasonable conclusion possible.

– I.M.M. Saulawa JSC. Balogun v. FRN (2021)

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BURDEN ON PROSECUTION – STANDARD OF PROOF IS REASONABLE DOUBT

The standard of proof required in a murder case as in all criminal cases is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The onus of proof is on the prosecution and not on the defence. It is after the prosecution has produced necessary evidence to establish its case that the burden shifts unto the defence if he has any contradicting evidence to call his own witness to establish such evidence.

– OMOBONIKE IGE, J.C.A. Etumionu v. AG Delta State (1994)

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GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT IS THE BASIC

The basic necessity before a verdict of guilty in a criminal charge can be pronounced is that the jury are satisfied of the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt.

– Nnamani JSC. Lori v. State (1980)

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PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DEPENDS ON THE QUALITY OF WITNESSES

It is a settled principle of law that in criminal proceedings the prosecution must establish the guilt of the accused person beyond reasonable doubt. It is also well settled that proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond the shadow of a doubt or beyond any iota of doubt. If the prosecution has led evidence that is cogent, credible and compelling, which points irresistibly to the guilt of the accused, it would have discharged the burden. Proof beyond reasonable doubt depends not on the quantity of witnesses for the prosecution but upon the quality of the evidence given.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. State v Sani Ibrahim (2019) – SC.1097/2016

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WHEN A CASE IS SAID TO BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

It must however, be emphasized that the burden of proof of the guilt of an accused person beyond reasonable doubt by the Prosecution in criminal cases should not be taken to mean that the prosecution must sustain its case beyond every shadow of doubt. Absolute certainty is impossible in any human adventure including the administration of justice. Thus, once the Prosecution has been able to prove that an offence has been committed and that no person other than the accused committed the offence, the prosecution is said to have established its case beyond reasonable doubt.

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

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ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY IS NOT REQUIRED FOR CONVICTION IN CRIMINAL CASES

It can be discerned from these cases that though certainty is an essential element of proof in criminal liability or guilt, absolute certainly is not required because it is “impossible in any human adventure including the administration of criminal justice.” That’s one reason why the requirement of standard of proof placed on the prosecution is to prove beyond reasonable doubt and not beyond all or any shadow of doubt. The standard of proof and the burden placed on the prosecution are by the endless judicial authorities on the issue, now common place.

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

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