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RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT MUST PASS THESE TESTS

Dictum

In other words, the retracted confession must pass the six credibility tests forming part of our criminal jurisprudence which have been established in a long fine of cases referred to above. These are: i. Is there anything outside the confession to show that it is true? ii. Is it corroborated? iii. Are the relevant statements made in it of facts true as far as they can be tested? iv. Was the accused one who had the opportunity of committing murder? v. Is his confession possible? vi. Is it consistent with other facts which have been ascertained and have been proved?

– H.M. Ogunwumiju, JSC. State v. Ibrahim (2021) – SC.200/2016

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A RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE

The Appellant may have retracted his Confessional Statement but it is settled that where the Accused says that he did not make the Confession at all, the trial Court is entitled to admit it in evidence, and thereafter, decide whether or not he made the said Confession, at the conclusion of trial. So, a retracted Confession is admissible in evidence Ikpasa v. State (supra), Sule V. State (2009) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1169) 33. However, the trial Court is enjoined to look for some evidence outside the Confessional Statement, which renders it plausible or true. This entails examining his new version of events that is different from his retracted confessional Statement, then the trial Court must ask – Is there anything outside the confession, which shows it may be true? Is it corroborated in anyway?

— A.A. Augie, JSC. Usman v The State (2019) – SC.228/2016

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RETRACTED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT IS ADMISSIBLE

My Lords, the position of the law as it stands today is that the signed retracted confessional statement Exh. 7A taken in vernacular is admissible in evidence. What matters is the probative value to be attached to it.

– H.M. Ogunwumiju, JSC. State v. Ibrahim (2021) – SC.200/2016

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HAVING CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT ENDORSED BY SUPERIOR OFFICERS IS COMMENDABLE

I must however emphasise the commendable practice of having confessional statements being endorsed by a superior police officer on having been satisfied on its voluntariness. These procedural safeguards are the most effective means to enable a trial court discover the truth of the matter as to the voluntariness or otherwise of an accused’s confession.

– Chukwuma-Eneh JSC. Ibeme v. State (2013)

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CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT BEING THE BEST STATEMENT FOR CONVICTION

There is no doubt that a confessional statement is the best evidence to prove a crime. It is the evidence of the perpetrator describing why and how the crime was committed. It proves both the mens rea and the actus reus. However, such admission to be solely used to convict a defendant must be voluntarily made and must be a positive and direct admission of guilt.

– H.M. Ogunwumiju, JSC. State v. Ibrahim (2021) – SC.200/2016

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FREE & VOLUNTARY CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT CAN GROUND CONVICTION

It is trite law that where a person makes a free and voluntary confessional statement which is direct and positive and is properly proved, a trial court can comfortably convict him even on such confessional statement alone, without necessarily looking for any corroborative evidence.

– Sanusi, JSC. Umaru Sunday v. FRN (2018) – SC.145/2013

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CONFESSION IS RELEVANT WHEN IT PROVES FACT

The vital consideration that should engage the mind of a trial Judge is the relevancy of the confession. A confession is relevant when it proves the fact that constitutes one of, or all, the elements of the crime to be proved, and/or identifies the person who committed the offence. If the confession is relevant and is free and voluntary, it is admissible in evidence and once admitted, the weight to be attached depends on its probative value and pure truth content.

– Sankey JCA. Abdul v. State (2021)

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