Judiciary-Poetry-Logo
JPoetry

WHEN A CASE IS SAID TO BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

Dictum

It must however, be emphasized that the burden of proof of the guilt of an accused person beyond reasonable doubt by the Prosecution in criminal cases should not be taken to mean that the prosecution must sustain its case beyond every shadow of doubt. Absolute certainty is impossible in any human adventure including the administration of justice. Thus, once the Prosecution has been able to prove that an offence has been committed and that no person other than the accused committed the offence, the prosecution is said to have established its case beyond reasonable doubt.

– Abdu Aboki, JSC. Chukwu v. State (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

SHARE ON

PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

Dibie v. The State (2007) LPELR 941 (SC) said thus: “Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond every shadow of doubt. Once the proof drowns the presumption of innocence of the accused, the Court is entitled to convict him, although there exist shadows of doubt. The moment the proof by prosecution renders the presumption of innocence on the part of the accused useless and pins him down as the owner of the mens rea or actus rea or both, the prosecution has discharged the burden placed on it by Section 138(3) of the Evidence Act”.

Was this dictum helpful?

BURDEN OF PROOF “BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT” NEVER SHIFTS

It must always be borne in mind and this is settled, that the burden of proving that any person is guilty of a crime, rests on the prosecution. The cardinal principle of law, is that the commission of a crime by a party must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. This is the law laid down in section 138(1) of the Evidence Act. The burden never shifts. Therefore, if on the whole of the evidence, the court is left in a state of doubt (as I am in this instant case leading to this appeal), the prosecution would have failed to discharge the onus of proof which the law lays upon it and the prisoner/accused person, is entitled to an acquittal. See the cases of Alonge v. Inspector-General of Police (1959) 4 FSC 203, (1959) SCNLR 516; Fatoyinbo v. Attorney-General, Western Nigeria (1966) WNLR 4, and The State v. Musa Danjuma (1997) 5 SCNJ 126 at 136-137, 156; (1997) 5 NWLR (Pt. 506) 512.

— Ogbuagu, JSC. Udosen v State (2007) – SC.199/2005

Was this dictum helpful?

PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DEPENDS ON THE QUALITY OF WITNESSES

It is a settled principle of law that in criminal proceedings the prosecution must establish the guilt of the accused person beyond reasonable doubt. It is also well settled that proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond the shadow of a doubt or beyond any iota of doubt. If the prosecution has led evidence that is cogent, credible and compelling, which points irresistibly to the guilt of the accused, it would have discharged the burden. Proof beyond reasonable doubt depends not on the quantity of witnesses for the prosecution but upon the quality of the evidence given.

— K.M.O. Kekere-Ekun, JSC. State v Sani Ibrahim (2019) – SC.1097/2016

Was this dictum helpful?

AN OFFENCE MUST BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

A fortiori, by virtue of Section 138(1) of the Evidence Act, if the commission of an offence by a party is directly in issue in any criminal or civil proceeding, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

– Saulawa, JSC. Makanjuola v. State (2021)

Was this dictum helpful?

BURDEN ON PROSECUTION – STANDARD OF PROOF IS REASONABLE DOUBT

The standard of proof required in a murder case as in all criminal cases is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The onus of proof is on the prosecution and not on the defence. It is after the prosecution has produced necessary evidence to establish its case that the burden shifts unto the defence if he has any contradicting evidence to call his own witness to establish such evidence.

– OMOBONIKE IGE, J.C.A. Etumionu v. AG Delta State (1994)

Was this dictum helpful?

CORRUPT PRACTICES ARE TO BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

In the instant case, the Petitioners have grounds of non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and allegation of corrupt practices. Section 134(1) (b) refers to the ground of corrupt practices or non-compliance. If the ground pursued in any petition is simply non-compliance with the Act and there is no tincture of allegation of crime, the proof required would be on the balance of probabilities. But the standard of proof in any ground that is primarily on corrupt practices would require proof beyond reasonable doubt, that allegation being criminal in nature.

— H.S. Tsammani, JCA. Atiku v PDP (CA/PEPC/05/2023, 6th of September, 2023)

Was this dictum helpful?

No more related dictum to show.