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THE APPELLANTS COULD NOT SUBSTANTIATE THE NARCOTICS FINE AGAINST THE 2ND RESPONDENT

Dictum

What matters always in this kind of situation is that there must be proof of such a sentence. A criminal conviction and sentence must be proved by the CTC of the judgment of court delivered or any admissible way of proving same and the said judgment must reflect all the ingredients of a valid judgment to bind the parties concerned. This is unfortunately where the Appellants could not proceed further or substantiate the sentence of fine against the 2nd Respondent. At page 3228 (vol.5) of the record, PW1 and PW12, who gave evidence on the US proceedings did not dispute the fact that the 2nd Respondent was not at any time, charged before any court, caused to make a plea, convicted or sentenced for any offence. Similarly, at page 3464 ( vol.5) of the record, RW2, a US attorney and an associate of the 2nd Respondent, testified that the 2nd Respondent was never convicted or fined for any criminal offence in the United States. In fact, PW1 confirmed that the proceedings in Exhibit PA5 series are civil proceedings, while equally admitting that he never mentioned anything about charge in the proceedings and that he never had one. By virtue of section 135 of the Evidence Act, it is beyond peradventure that the proof of this allegation ought to be beyond reasonable doubt. Section 249 of the Evidence Act clearly prescribes the manner of discharging this proof, by the provision of “certificate purporting to be given under the hand of a police officer” from the US, “containing a copy of the sentence or order and the finger prints of the 2nd Respondent or photographs of the finger prints of the said 2nd Respondent, together with evidence that the finger prints of the person so convicted are those of the 2nd Respondent. See PML (NIG.) LTD. V. F.R.N. (2018) 7 NWLR (PT. 1619) 448 AT 493.

— Uwani Abba Aji JSC. Peter Obi & Anor. v. INEC & Ors. (SC/CV/937/2023, Thursday the 26th day of October 2023)

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THREE METHODS OF EVIDENTIAL PROOF

The law is also trite that the three methods of evidential proof as held by the Supreme Court Per, Ogunbiyi, J.S.C in the case of OKASHETU V STATE (2016) LPELR-40611 (SC) are to wit: a. Direct evidence of witnesses; b. Circumstantial evidence; and c. By reliance on a confessional statement of an accused person voluntarily made.

– Adamu Jauro, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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CIVIL CASES ARE DECIDED ON THE PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE

The level of proof needed in the circumstances of this case is as per the required standard of proof in civil case, it is a cardinal principle of law that civil cases are decided on the preponderance of evidence and balance of probabilities. See the cases of Emeka v. Chuba- Ikpeazu and Ors., (2017) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1583) 345, A.B.C. (Transport Company) Ltd. v. Miss Bimmi Omotoye (2019) LPELR-47829 (SC).

— S.J. Adah, JCA. Luck Guard v. Adariku (2022) – CA/A/1061/2020

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WHAT IS PROOF IN LAW

Proof in law, is a process by which the existence of facts is established to the satisfaction of the Court, see Section 121 of the Evidence Act, 2011; Olufosoye v. Fakorede (1993) 1 NWLR (Pt. 272) 747; Awuse v. Odili (2005) 16 NWLR (Pt. 952) 416; Salau v. State (2019) 16 NWLR (Pt. 1699) 399. (Pt. 1372) 474; APC v. Karfi (2018) 6 NWLR (Pt. 1616) 479; Ojobo v Moro (2019) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1700) 166.

— O.F. Ogbuinya JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc v. Longterm Global Cap. Ltd. & Ors. (September 20 2021, ca/l/1093/2017)

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SECTION 131 EVIDENCE ACT, HE WHO ASSERT MUST PROVE

Section 131 of the Evidence Act states that any person who desires any Court to give judgment as to any legal right or liability dependent on the existence of facts shall assert and prove that those facts exist U. I. C. Ltd Vs T. A. Hammond Nigeria Ltd (1998) NWLR (Pt 565) 340, Okoye Vs Nwankwo (2003) FWLR (Pt 156) 992, Chevron (Nig) Ltd Vs Omoregha (2015) 16 NWLR (Pt 1485) 336.

— H.A.O. Abiru, JCA. P.W. Ltd. v. Mansel Motors (2017) – CA/J/240/2016

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FACTS ADMITTED NEEDS NO FURTHER PROOF

U.D.F.U. v. Kraus (2001) 24 WRN 78 @ p. 91, where it was held firmly inter alia thus: “The law is unequivocal that a fact admitted by the Defendant in his pleading must be taken by a Court of law as established and should therefore be treated as one of the agreed facts between the parties to the suit. Indeed, these facts are directly admitted as in the instant case or deemed admitted as provided for in the Rules of Court dealing with pleadings, such averments do not need to be processed in Court … The judgement of the Court delivered on 17|2|97 based on the admission cannot be faulted.”

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WHERE ACCUSED PLEADS GUILTY PROSECUTION BURDEN BECOMES LIGHT

OMOJU v. FRN (2008) LPELR – 2647 (SC), Tobi JSC (of blessed memory), considered the effect of an accused person’s plea of guilt on the burden placed on the prosecution where my noble Lord held thus: “The law is elementary that if an accused person pleads guilty, the burden of proof placed on the prosecution becomes light, like a feather of an ostrich. It no longer remains the superlative and compelling burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt. After all, the guilty plea has considerably shortened the distance and brought in some proximity the offence and mens rea or actus reus of the accused as the case may be. That makes it easier to locate causation or causa sine qua non.”

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