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WRONGFUL ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE MAY NOT BE A GROUND FOR THE REVERSAL OF THE TRIAL COURT’S DECISION

Dictum

Thus, where such evidence is by error or otherwise admitted, then it is the duly of the trial court to expunge it in giving its judgment. If it fails to do so, the appeal court will reject such evidence and consider the case in the light of the legally admitted evidence See Owoniyi v. Omotoso (1961) 2 SCNLR 57, (1961) All NLR 304; Alase v. Ilu (1964) 1 All NLR 390. In any event, it is trite that wrongful admission of inadmissible evidence is not of itself a ground for the reversal of any decision. Similarly, the wrongful exclusion of admissible evidence is not of itself a ground for the reversal of any decision. All these are however dependent on the view held by the appeal court on whether the evidence wrongly admitted or wrongly excluded would have the effect of changing the decision even if admitted or excluded.

— I.T. Muhammad JSC. Musa Abubakar v. E.I. Chuks (SC.184/2003, 14 DEC 2007)

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COURT CAN SUO MOTO EXPUNGE EARLIER ADMITTED EVIDENCE IF ERROR IN ADMISSION IS DISCOVERED LATER

On the sub issue as to whether the court has the power to expunge from its record evidence or documents earlier admitted without objection by counsel, it is settled law that the courts can do that and has been doing that over the years; see NIPC Ltd. v. Thompson Organization Ltd. (1966) 1 NMLR 99 at 104 where LEWIS, JSC stated the law as follows:- “It is of course the duty of counsel to object to admissible evidence and the duty of trial court any way to refuse to admit inadmissible evidence, but if notwithstanding this evidence is still through oversight or otherwise admitted then it is the duty of the court to when it comes to give judgment to treat the inadmissible evidence as if it had never been admitted”.

— Onnoghen, JSC. Kubor v. Dickson (2012) – SC.369/2012

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ADMISSION IS NOT IPSO FACTO TRUTH OF THE CASE

I may repeat that an admission does not necessarily mean proof of what is contained therein. An admission relied upon by any party is not ipso facto accepted to be the truth by the court once it is not in accordance with the truth of the case. It is the duty of the court to decide the case in accordance with the facts pleaded and proved to be true.

— Olatawura JSC. African Continental Bank Ltd. v. Alhaji Umaru Gwagwada (SC.26/1990, 29 APR 1994)

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ADMISSION OF AN OFFENCE MAY AMOUNT TO SUFFICIENT CORROBORATION

Admission of an offence by an accused person to other persons may amount to sufficient corroboration in law. So in R. v. Francis Kufi (1960) WNLR 1, the accused was charged with indecent assault against a young girl of 10 years. It was held, and rightly in my view, that the admission of the offence by the accused to the father of the girl was sufficient corroboration in law.

— Iguh, JSC. Okon Iko v State (2001) – SC.177/2001

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FACTS ADMITTED NEED NO FURTHER PROOF

It is trite that a crucial fact which is admitted does not require further proof as no person would admit a fact which could work against his interest unless it is true.

— J.I. Okoro, JSC. Universal Properties v. Pinnacle Comm. Bank, NJA, Opia, Heritage, Fatogun (SC.332/2008, Friday, April 08, 2022)

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ADMISSION IN EVIDENCE

Thus, where both parties have agreed on a fact in issue, no further proof of such fact was necessary as it ceases to be an issue between them:-See Chief Okparaeke of Ndrakaeme & Ors. V. Egbuonu & Ors. (1941) 7 W.A.C.A. 53. In Chief Nwizuk & Ors. v,. Eneyok & Ors. (1953) 14 W.A.C.A. 354, it was held that admissions under this section are not confined to written nor documentary admissions. They include oral admissions if made clearly in open court during the proceedings. Admissions may also be by implication where there is a failure positively to deny an allegation. In Hill V Hogg (1854) 4 Allen (New Brunswick) R 108 it was held that an admission and a confession to the commission may be given in evidence in proof of an imputation.

— Karibe-Whyte, JSC. Din v. African Newspapers (1990)

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PRE-REQUISITE FOR AN ADMISSION TO HAVE PROBATIVE VALUE

In law it is true, and as was ably submitted by the learned counsel for the Appellant, that for an admission to have probative value it must clearly, precisely and unequivocally express the admitting mind of the person. Thus, an alleged admission lacking in exactness and firmness of purpose would not qualify as an admission. An admission must therefore, be direct and positive to be given the requisite probative weight in the ascription of probative value by the Court.

– PER B. A. GEORGEWILL, J.C.A. ZENITH BANK PLC v. WAILI (2022) – CA/A/964/2020

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