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STATEMENT FROM THE BAR HAS NO FORCE OF LEGAL EVIDENCE

Dictum

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 MAY RELY ON EVIDENCE UNCHALLENGED

It is trite that where evidence tendered by a party to any proceedings was not challenged or put in issue by the other party who had the opportunity to do so, it is always open to the court seised of the matter to act on such unchallenged evidence before it. See Isaac Omoregbe V Daniel Lawani (1980) 3-4 S.C. 108 at 117; Odulaja V Haddad (1973) 11 S.C. 357; Nigerian Maritime Services Ltd. V Alhaji Bello Afolabi (1978) 2 S.C. 79 at 81; Adel Boshali V Allied Commercial Exporters Ltd. (1961) All NLR 917; (1961) 2 SCNLR 322.

— Iguh, JSC. Yesufu v. Kupper Intl. (1996) – SC.302/1989

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ORAL EVIDENCE IN EARLIER TRIAL NOT RELEVANT IN A LATER TRIAL

With due deference to the learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, it is settled law that evidence of a witness taken in an earlier proceedings is not relevant in a later trial or proceeding except for the purpose of discrediting such a witness in cross examination and for that purpose only. – Sanusi JCA. Enejo v. Nasir (2006)

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ONLY DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE CAN CONTRADICT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

However the conflict is not strong to hold his evidence is of no value when the documentary evidence speaks for itself. It is trite the best evidence to challenge documentary evidence is same Documentary evidence. – Nwodo, JCA. OLAM v. Intercontinental Bank (2009)

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COURT TO DECIDE CASE ONLY ON LEGALLY ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE

Thus where a court wrongfully admits inadmissible evidence, it ought as a duty, to disregard the inadmissible evidence in the consideration of the judgment in the matter. Where such evidence has been wrongfully admitted and acted upon and whether or not the opposing party objects or not, an appellate court has the duty to exclude such evidence and decide the case only on the legally admissible evidence, see Timitimi v Amabebe (1953) 14 WACA 374; Ajayi v Fisher (1956) 1 FSC 90, (1956) SC NLR 279.

— Musdapher, JSC. Shittu & Ors. v Fashawe [2005] – SC 21/2001

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CONSIDERATIONS AGAINST ADDUCING FRESH EVIDENCE AT APPELLATE COURT

Three prominent considerations tending to work against adducing fresh evidence at the appellate Court, when this Court exercises its power under Order 2, Rule 12 of the Rules of this Court in that regard, are –
i. Where issues are joined on pleadings at the trial Court no party shall be taken by surprise. Thus, the Appeal Court cannot consider the reception of new evidence without amendment of the pleadings. See ONIBUDO v. AKIBU (1982) 7 SC. 60; ADELEKE v. ASHERIFA (1990) 3 NWLR (Pt.136) 94 at 111; (1990) 21 NSCC 145 at 154.
ii. It is in the interest of public policy, particularly for the purpose of efficient and effective administration of justice, to obviate prolongation of litigation that the practice of adducing evidence, which ought to have been adduced at the trial Court, should not be postponed to after judgment: See ADELEKE v. ASHERIFA (supra).
iii. Appellate Courts generally exercise their jurisdiction to correct errors of law or fact made by the Courts below, after the latter’s consideration of the totality of evidential materials before them. Accordingly, the correctness of the decision of a trial Court or Judge should not be assessed or judged on the new evidence that the trial Court or judge never had an opportunity to consider: See ADELEKE v. ASHERIFA (supra). In other words the correctness or otherwise of the judgment of the trial Judge or Court should not be assessed on evidential materials he or it never had opportunity to consider.

– Ejembi, JSC. GTB v. Innoson (2017) – SC.694/2014(R)

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SILENCE COULD AMOUNT TO ACCEPTANCE

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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