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SILENCE COULD AMOUNT TO ACCEPTANCE

Dictum

It is a settled principle of law that where an adversary or a witness called by him testifies on a material fact in controversy in a case, the other party should, if he does not accept the witness’s testimony as true, cross-examine him on that fact, or at least show that the he does not accept the evidence as true, where, as in this case, he fails to do either, a court can take his silence as an acceptance that the party does not dispute the facts.

– Nnaemeka-Agu JSC. Amadi v. Nwosu (1992)

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TAKING EVIDENCE BY HIGH COURT INSTEAD OF MAGISTRATE COURT

It seems to me that if under the provisions of Order 23, rule 54 of the High Court Rules of Anambra State, 1988 a Magistrate or any officer of the court is permitted to take the evidence of a witness by way of commission, it cannot, with respect, be right to suggest that a High Court Judge, a judicial officer with much higher jurisdiction and status than a Magistrate or any other officer of the court is incompetent to take such evidence unless there exists any law which stipulates to the contrary. I know of no such law and my attention has not been drawn to any in this appeal. I am therefore of the view that the High Court was right by taking the evidence of the fourth defendant by way of commission as urged upon the court by learned Counsel for the appellant.

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

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COURT CANNOT PICK BETWEEN TWO CONTRADICTING EVIDENCE

The law is trite that where there are material contradictions in the evidence adduced by a party, the court is enjoined to reject the entire evidence as it cannot pick and choose which of the conflicting versions to believe or follow. See Mogaji v. Cadbury (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt. 7) 393, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu v. Alex Otti & Ors (2016) LPELR-40055 (SC), (2016) 4 NWLR (Pt. 1513) 38; Doma v. INEC (2012) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1317) 297 at 322 – 323 paragraphs G-C, Muka v. The State (1976) 9 – 10 SC (Reprint) 193 at 205, Onubogu v. The State (1974) 9 SC 1 at 20, Salami v. Gbadoolu & Ors (1997) 4 NWLR (Pt. 499) 277.

— Okoro, JSC. Anyanwu v. PDP (2020) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1710) 134

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STATEMENT FROM THE BAR HAS NO FORCE OF LEGAL EVIDENCE

He failed to testify to utilise the opportunity. Rather, it was his Counsel who made bare statement from the Bar. That bare statement from the Bar has no force of legal evidence: ONU OBEKPA v. C.O.P. (1980) 1 NCR 113; NIGER CONST. LTD. v. OKUGBENI (1987) 4 NWLR (pt. 67) 787 at 792.

— E. Eko, JSC. Francis v. FRN (2020) – SC.810/2014

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COURT WILL ACT ON UNCHALLENGED EVIDENCE

The law is well settled that where the evidence given by a party to any proceedings was not challenged by the opposite party who had the opportunity to do so, it is always open to the court seised of the case to act on such unchallenged evidence before it. See Isaac Omoregbe v. Daniel Lawani (1980) 3 – 4 SC 108 at 117, Odulaja v. Haddad (1973) 11 SC 357, Nigerian Maritime Services Ltd. v. Alhaji Bello Afolabi (1978) 2 SC 79 at 81, Abel Boshali v. Allied Commercial Exporters Ltd. (1961) 2 SCNLR 322, (1961) All NLR 917.

— Iguh, JSC. Olohunde v. Adeyoju (2000) – SC.15/1995

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COMPETENCY IS A MATTER OF UNDERSTANDING

And, apart from this, there is a long line of authorities establishing that competency is not a matter of age but of understanding and that if a child understands the nature of an oath, the provisions in question are completely out of place. See Reg. v. Perkins (1840) 9 C. & P. 395 (or 173 E.R.884); also R. v. Michael Moscovitch (1924) 18 CAR 37. – Coker JSC. Okoye v. State (1972)

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SETTLED PRINCIPLES WHICH GUIDE THE COURT WHETHER TO ADMIT FRESH EVIDENCE

As rightly submitted by learned counsel for both parties, there are settled principles, which guide the Court in determining whether to grant leave to adduce fresh or further evidence. They are, inter alia, as follows: (a) The evidence sought to be adduced must be such as could not have been, with reasonable diligence, obtained for use at the trial, or are matters which have occurred after judgment in the trial Court. (b) In respect of other evidence other than in (a) above, as for instance, in respect of an appeal from a judgment after a hearing on the merits, the Court will admit such fresh evidence only on special grounds. (c) The evidence should be such as if admitted, it would have an important, not necessarily crucial effect on the whole case; and (d) The evidence must be such as apparently credible in the sense that it is capable of being believed and it need not be incontrovertible. See: Asabaro vs Aruwaji (1974) 4 SC (Reprint) 87 @ 90 – 91: Akanbi vs Alao (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt.108) 118@ 137 – 138 H – B: Esangbedo vs The State (1989) 4 NWLR (Pt.113) 57 @ 67 A-C.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. Williams v Adold/Stamm (2007) – SC.404/2013

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