Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

THE APPEAL COURT IS IN A POSITION TO EVALUATE ADMITTED EVIDENCE WHERE IT IS BASICALLY TO DRAW INFERENCES FROM DOCUMENTS

Dictum

Where however the nature of the case is such that the evaluation would not entail the assessment of credibility of witnesses and would be confined to drawing inferences and making findings from admitted and proved facts and from the contents of documentary evidence, the appellate court is in as vantage a position as the trial court to evaluate or re-evaluate the evidence and make its own findings. These principles have been applied in a number of cases amongst which are WOLUCHEM v. GUDI (1981) 5 SC 291; MOGAJI v. ODOFIN (1978) 4 SC 91; DURU v. NWOSU (1989) 4 NWLR (Part 113) 24; OLADEHIN v. CONTINENTAL ILE MILLS LTD. (1978) 2 SC 28; CHUKWU v. NNEJI (1990) 6 NWLR (Part 156) 363; AKINTOLA v. BALOGUN (2000) 1 NWLR (Part 642) 532 at 546. I have gone through the evidence of the witnesses on record and the judgment of the trial Court and I am firmly of the view that there was no issue of the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses. The result is that this Court, like the court below, is in as good a position as the trial court to appraise or re-appraise the evidence on record to see if the concurrent findings of the two courts below are not perverse. With respect to the evidence itself, there is a lot of oral as well as documentary evidence. I am however of the view that the issues raised would be resolved mainly by the documentary evidence. I am guided in this view by the settled principle of law that oral evidence is only to be hangars on for documentary evidence.

— F.F. Tabai, JSC. Mini Lodge v. Ngei (2009) – SC.231/2006

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

WHEN WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE IS ALLEGED, MEANING

In the case of AWUSA v. NIG. ARMY (2018) LPELR-44377 (SC) the Apex Court held that: “The position of the law is that when an Appellant alleges that a decision is against the weight of evidence, he means that when evidence he adduced is balanced against that of the Respondent. Judgment in the Respondent’s favour is against the weight that should have been given to the totality of the evidence adduced – See Akinlagun v. Oshoboja (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 993) 60 at 82 SC. The complaint is only concerned with appraisal and evaluation of all the evidence and not the weight to be attached to any particular piece of evidence…”

Was this dictum helpful?

DUTY OF TRIAL COURT; PERCEPTION & EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE

There is a duty in a trial court to receive all available relevant evidence on an issue. This is perception of evidence. After that there is another duty to weigh that evidence in the context of the surrounding circumstances of the case. This is evaluation of evidence. A finding of fact will entail both perception and evaluation. But very often in actual practice it is difficult to say when perception ends and evaluation begins.

– Oputa JSC. OLUFOSOYE v. OLORUNFEMI (1989)

Was this dictum helpful?

APPEAL COURT IS IN A POSITION TO RE-APPRAISE EVIDENCE ON RECORD

I have gone through the evidence of the witnesses on record and the judgment of the trial Court and I am firmly of the view that there was no issue of the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses. The result is that this Court, like the court below, is in as good a position as the trial court to appraise or re-appraise the evidence on record to see if the concurrent findings of the two courts below are not perverse. With respect to the evidence itself, there is a lot of oral as well as documentary evidence. I am however of the view that the issues raised would be resolved mainly by the documentary evidence. I am guided in this view by the settled principle of law that oral evidence is only to be hangars on for documentary evidence.

— F.F. Tabai, JSC. Mini Lodge v. Ngei (2009) – SC.231/2006

Was this dictum helpful?

THE APPELLATE COURT IS IN A GOOD POSITION TO EVALUATE EVIDENCE AS THE TRIAL JUDGE

Indeed, if there is a complaint that a trial judge did not make findings based on the evidence placed before him, the appellate court is in as good position as the trial court to do its own evaluation of the evidence contained in the records of appeal. See: Narumai and Sons Nig. Ltd v. Niger Benue Transport Co Ltd (1989) 2 NWLR (Pt.106) 730. And where the appellate court finds that there are inadequacies on the part of the trial judge in reaching his decision or finding that is perverse, the appellate court has a duty to examine the inferences and conclusions drawn by the trial judge and then re-evaluate the evidence in order to come to its own judgment, to see that justice is done. See: Atolagbe v. Shorun (1985) 1 NWLR (Pt.2) 360; Eki v. Giwa (1977) 2 SC, 131; Lion Building Ltd v. Shadipe (1976) 12 SC 135.

— T.S. YAKUBU, JCA. Fayose v ICN (2012) – CA/AE/58/2010

Was this dictum helpful?

DUTY OF TRIAL COURTS IN EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE

“In carrying out the evaluation of evidence, a Court is not to merely review or restate the evidence, but it is expected to critically appraise it in the light of the facts in issue, what is relevant, admissible and what weight is to be attached. In other words, the evaluation of evidence is much more critical, crucial and tasking than a mere review of evidence. For unlike the review of evidence, its actual evaluation involves a reasonable belief of the evidence of one of the contending parties and disbelief of the other, or the reasoned preference of one version to the other. There must be an indication on the record of the Court to show how the trial Court arrived at its conclusion preferring one piece of evidence to the other. Thus, the act of reaching conclusions by drawing necessary inference is a product of a legal mind and not an indulgence in speculation – Aregbesola V Olagunsoye (2011) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1253) 458; Olonade V Sowemimo (2014) 9 SCM 106, 121, per MD Muhammad, JSC; Michael V Access Bank (2017) LPELR-41981(CA)13.”

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Ibrahim Muli v Sali Akwai (2021) – CA/G/423/2019

Was this dictum helpful?

FOR AN EVIDENCE TO BE RELIED UPON, IT MUST HAVE COGENCY OR PROBATIVE VALUE

The law does not permit evidence which is of no probative value to be relied upon by a party, nor to be acted upon by the court, to support a claim. It is an important aspect of civil procedure that for evidence to be considered useful and which a court can act upon, there are certain basic qualities it must possess. The first consideration is usually the double requirement of relevancy and admissibility. But in essence they can be separated. The evidence must be relevant to a fact in issue, or to any fact which, though not in issue, is so connected with the fact in issue, or relevant to a fact which is inconsistent to any fact in issue or to a fact which by itself or in connection with any other fact makes the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue probable or improbable. S.7 & 12 Evidence Act. It must be admissible having regard to the facts pleaded and if no law or rule precludes its admission: see Emegokwue v. Okadigbo(1973) 4 SC 113; Onobruchere v. Esegine (1986) 1 NWLR (PU9) 799. It must have credibility or cogency thereby enabling the Judge to ascribe some probative value to it having regard to its nature and what it is intended to establish: Misr (Nig.) Ltd. v.Ibrahim (1974) 5 SC 55 at 62; Aikhionbare v. Omoregie (1976) 12 SC 11 at 27. I have had to state the above because Exhibit V neither has cogency nor any probative value which can be ascribed to it.

Rockonoh v. NTP (2001) – SC.71/1995

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.