Critical Analysis Of Corroboration Under The Nigerian Law Of Evidence

Project and Seminar Material for Law

Critical Analysis Of Corroboration Under The Nigerian Law Of Evidence


Abstract


There is no law that says the plaintiff or the prosecution must bring a million witnesses or evidence to court before he can succeed in his case. A court can convict on a single witness. A case is not decided by the numbers of witnesses, single credible convincing evidence is enough to convict in a case but there are some exceptions. The exceptions refer to by this learned mean the circumstances where corroboration will be required before any judge can decide his case. Although a judge can convict upon the uncorroborated evidence of an accomplice but he must warn himself before given such conviction in fact he is advised to seek corroborating evidence before convicting an accused because failure to do so can lead to the setting aside of his judgment on appeal.

Generally, corroboration cuts a niche for itself, it is used both in criminal and civil cases. It will also state the position of judges on the issue of corroboration and various decisions of court on different issues arising from corroboration. In law, corroboration, though popular yet controversial virtually under all legal system this is due to the influence and interpretation of the provisions of the Evidence Act and the criminal and penal codes (on corroboration of evidence) by judges.

The desirability of corroboration as a requirement in certain criminal and civil cases under the Nigerian law of evidence and the hope of examine it critically under our legal system is the core focus of this study. This work will therefore elucidate the meaning of corroboration in Nigeria and Canada generally, the role of judges in deciding both civil and criminal cases and various statutory provisions in respect of corroboration of evidence in Nigeria relying largely on both primary and secondary source of law of evidence in Nigeria.


Table Of Cases


Nigeria

  • Anthony Enahoro v R (1965) NWLR 265 @ 280
  • Alli v Alli [1965]3 All ER 48
  • Brighty v Pearson (1938)4 All ER 127
  • Bakobah v Yauri N.A Police (1970) 107 NNLR
  • Davis v DPP [1954] AC 378
  • Emmanuel Ugwumba v State [1993] 5 NWLR 660
  • Hamid Musa & or v YahayaKefasYerima& Anor [1997]7 NWLR 27.SC
  • Johnson Erelau v I.R (1959)WRNLR 77 (Fsc)
  • MaukaOgbodu v State [1936]5 NWLR C.A
  • R v Makanjuola [1995]3 All ER 73 @ 731j-733g
  • R v Spencer (HL) (1987) AC 128, (1973)2 WLR 24
  • R v Salami Ogunubi (1932)11 NLR
  • R v Francis Kufi (1969) WNLR
  • Stephen Emoga v State (1997)9 NWLR 25 SC

United Kingdom

  • Hill v Willson (1873)8 ch App 880
  • R v Christie [1914] A.C 545
  • R v Longstaff (1977) Crim L R 216
  • R v Sauder (1961)46 Cr APP R 60
  • Nicola v Penny (1950)2 KB 466
  • R v Mildwinter (1971)55 Cr App R 523
  • R v Marks (1963) Crim L R 370
  • R v Chance [1988] QB 732
  • Thomas v Jones (QBD) (1920)2KB 399
  • R v Hills (1987)86 Cr App R 26
  • R v Redpath (1962)46 Cr App R 319,321
  • R v Chauhan (1918)7 E Cr App R 232
  • R v Whitehead [1929]1 K.B 99 @ 102
  • R v O”connor [1980] Crim L.R 43 C.A
  • R v Turnbull [1977] QB 224 [1976]3 All ER 549 C.A

Table Of Statues


England

  • Sexual Offence Act 1956
  • Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
  • Road Traffic Act 1984
  • Perjury Act 1911
  • Divorce Reform Act 1969
  • Civil Evidence Act 1963
  • Criminal Justice Act 1988

Nigeria

  • The Evidence Act 1945, Cap 112 LFN

List Of Abbreviations


  • WNLR: Western Nigeria Law Report
  • WRNLR: Western Regional Nigeria Law Report
  • NWLR: Nigeria Weekly Law Report
  • NLR: Nigeria Law Report
  • NNLR: Northern Nigeria Law Report
  • A.C : Appeal Cases
  • WLR: Western Law Report
  • ALL ER: All England Report
  • Q.B: Queen’s Bench
  • K.B: King’s Bench

 


Table Of Contents


  • Table Of Cases
  • Table Of Statutes
  • List Of Abbrevations
  • Table Of Contents

Chapter One

General Introduction

  • 1.0.0: Introduction
  • 1.1.0: Background To The Study
  • 1.2.0: Objectives Of Study
  • 1.3.0: Focus Of Study
  • 1.4.0 Scope Of Study
  • 1.5.0: Methodology
  • 1.6.0: Literature Review
  • 1. 7.0: Conclusion

Chapter Two

Principle Of Corroboration

  • 2. 0.0: Introduction
  • 2.1.0: Historical Background Of Corroboration In Nigeria
  • 2.2.0: Meaning / Definition
  • 2.3.0: Nature Of Corroboration
  • 2.4.0 Evidence Requiring Corroboration
  • 2. 5.0: Conclusion

Chapter Three

Rules Of Corroboration

  • 3. 0.0: Introduction
  • 3.1.0: Forms Of Corroboration
  • 3.1.1.0: As A Matter Of Law
  • 3.1.1.1: As A Matter Of Practise
  • 3.2.0: Types Of Corroboration
  • 3.2.1.0: Mutual Corroboration
    3.2.1.1: Cummulative Corroboration
  • 3.2.1.2: Identification Cases And Corroboration
  • 3.3.0: Corroboration Under The Common Law
  • 3. 4.0: Conclusion

Chapter Four

Incidences Of Corroboration.

  • 4. 0.0: Introduction
  • 4.1.0: Corroboration In Civil Cases
  • 4.2.0: Corroboration In Criminal Cases
  • 4.3.0: Roles Of Judges And Jury In Corroboration
  • 4.4.0: Problems Of Corroboration
  • 4.5.0: Solutions To The Problems
  • 4. 6.0: Conclusion

Chapter Five

General Conclusion

  • 5. 0.0: Conclusion
  • 5.1.0: Recommendation
  • Bibliography

 


Chapter One


General Introduction

1.0.0: Introduction

Corroboration is evidence tending to confirm some fact of which other evidence is given. As a matter of common sense, the more corroboration is present the easier it is to prove a fact and from this point of view a judge will always look for corroborating evidence.

Corroboration according to Osborn’s Concise Dictionary1 means independent evidence which implicate a person accused of a crime by connecting him with it, or an evidence which confirms in some fact particularly not only that the crime has been committed but also that the accused actually committed the crime. According to Oxford Dictionary2 corroboration mean evidence given to further support or strength existing evidence.

Corroboration according to the Evidence Ac3t refers to an independent statement made by other witness which proves the truth of the first evidence. It is also refer to as the requirement in some jurisdiction such as Scotland that any evidence adduced be backed up by at least one other source.

  1. 8th edition by leslie Rutherford
  2. 2nd edition vol.11 1963 by Horny Oxford University Sheila bone
  3. Evidence act 1945 cap 112 L.F.N 1990

Corroboration is a mandatory requirement under certain circumstances, in the sense that no matter how convincing the evidence requiring corroboration is, the party relying on that evidence will fail unless he adduces corroboration.
Corroboration is therefore called for where there is need order to ascertain that such evidence can be relied upon to convict the accused person. Corroboration is a ground for the admissibility of certain evidence for the purpose of conviction and if the corroborating evidence is not the same with the existing evidence an accused can not be convicted upon such existing evidence. This essay shall examine the various incidence where corroboration must or might be required to be taken before there can be a conviction, corroboration under common law , Nigerian law. It shall also examine the position of judges and statutory authorities and will also analyses various issues arising from corroboration. This project is basically directed toward analyzing corroboration as known under the Nigerian law of evidence. There shall also be an insight into various circumstances as when, where and why corroboration is required.


1.1.0: Background To The Study

The reason for venturing into this topic is based on personal interest in the concept “Corroboration” and the desire to shed more light on it by analyzing it critically. This work is therefore based on the analysis of corroboration under the Nigerian law of evidence. It analysis shall include discussion on the nature of corroboration, effect of corroboration and instances where corroboration will or must be required among others.


1.2.0: Objectives Of Study

The main objective of this essay is to critically analysis corroboration under the Nigerian law of evidence in order to shed light on the concept of corroboration under the our legal system. Furthermore, the essay tends to highlight circumstances where corroboration may or must be required. It will also show the effect of corroboration on a piece of evidence, natures of corroboration, the position of judges in corroboration issues and examine the provision of the Evidence Act on corroboration. The basis for analysis shall be for the purpose of showing new areas in the concept as a result of dynamism in the legal system.


1.3.0: Focus Of Study

This essay shall focus on corroboration under the Nigerian law of evidence and other instances surrounding it.


1.4.0: Scope Of Study

This essay shall not exceed the content of this title; it shall be within the purview prescribed by the topic. Though corroboration appears to be universal, its application differs in different situation and circumstance. This essay has it main focus on the critical analysis of corroboration under the Nigerian law of evidence.


1.5.0: Methodology

Both the primary and secondary sources of law are the basis for this research work. Thus the Evidence Act, Law text books, Law report, Articles on law, Various Statute and Cases on the subject matter are the sources of information. This project shall also be analytical in nature.


1.6.0: Literature Review

This work has been able to shed more light on the meaning of corroboration under the Nigerian law of evidence, analyzing views and postulations by different scholars and writers. The definition in this essay is limited to the resources used in the write up, this essay has successfully analyzed corroboration of evidence under the Nigerian legal system, Furthermore, corroboration of evidence has been critically analyzed under the common law and the Evidence Act, the effect of corroboration on a piece of evidence , the nature of corroboration and types of evidence requiring corroboration either as a matter of law or practice has also been examine . What amount to corroboration of evidence and the nature of uncorroborated evidence including the position of judges either to warn himself or to be cautious on issues of has been critically analyzed. The historical background of corroboration in Nigeria is examined and corroboration in civil and criminal cases is also examined.


1.7.0: Conclusion

The chapter one of this essay contain the proposal for the essay which include the Abstract, Background, Objectives, Focus and scope of the study. It also contains the methodology and the literature review of the essay which contain the various scholarly views and opinion concerning the subject matter.


Chapter Five


Conclusion And Recommendation

5.0.0: Conclusion

Any proceeding before the court would either be civil or criminal, in both instances the issue of corroboration cannot be excluded if the judge aims at achieving justice. Thus the requirement of corroboration at both instances has been critically examined. This work has also been able to trace the history of corroboration in Nigeria to the primitive traditional society, the role of judges and jury in corroboration issues, the meaning of corroboration at common law and as defined by other scholars and learned.

The requirement of corroboration of evidence is becoming more pressing and complicated in our society today as the society progresses in wisdom and technological advancement. A judge’s discretion in identifying a corroborating evidence where there are more than one evidence and the danger of taking decision or convicting upon the uncorroborated witness or evidence of an accused has also been discussed at length. Corroboration itself is not free from problems and ambiguities; the work has identified the existing problems and ambiguities and stated proffered solution to problems of the concept. It should be noted that it is not all evidence that requires corroboration, this work has therefore stated in clear term and language those kind of evidence requiring evidence and also itemized and give proper elucidation on the various types of corroboration existing under our legal system. Corroboration requirement by the judges could either be mandatory or obligatory, where they are required to seek corroboration as a matter of law then it is mandatory upon them to do so and failure to comply has the effect of getting their decision quashed. There are also instances where the judges are just obliged to seek corroboration as a matter of practice, failure to comply may not necessarily have a quashing effect on their decision, but it could have a repealing effect on same.


5.1.0 Recommendation

This work as achieved it aim which is to give a critical analysis of the concept of corroboration under the Nigerian legal system. Also the focus of sheding brighter light on the concept has equally been achieved through the examination of the rules, principles, forms and incidences of corroboration at different point of each chapter of this work. Consequent upon the study and analysis of the concept, it has been observed that:

  1. Corroboration itself can be said to be double or two edged sword in that it strict requirement and application in some cases may lead to an “inevitable injustice” while it loose requirement and application may allow justice to slip through the fingers of the law. It is therefore recommended that the discretion of the judges after a proper and clear warning should be allow prevailing in the issue of corroboration in any case be it civil or criminal.
  2. Every good law should be dynamic and be bendable to suite any arising situation in the society thus, the opinion of the judges on the issue or the fact of the case before them should be a yard to determine basis of corroboration in case rather than being hooked in claws of technicality or statutory purview.
  3. It is an undisputable fact that some cases are crystal clear, even the blind on hearing then facts and surrounding circumstances could decide it without any recourse to statutory or conventional guideline, such cases should to frustrated or turn into meaningless quest all in the name of corroboration requirement even when the presence of corroboration will have no effect
    on it.
  4. Finally, though the requirement of corroboration is a sure way to justice in any given case but considerable care should be take so what is meant to make justice will not end up marring it.

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