CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE REQUIREMENT OF CORROBORATION UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW OF EVIDENCE

PROJECT TOPIC- CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE REQUIREMENT OF CORROBORATION UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW OF EVIDENCE

ABSTRACT

There is no law that says the plaintiff or the prosecution must bring a million witness 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 number of witnesses, single credible convincing evidence is enough to convict in a case but there are some exceptions. The exceptions referred to means circumstances where corroboration will be required before any judge can decide his case. Corroboration can be required as a matter of law and as matter of practice. When it is required as a matter of practice, the judge should warn himself before convicting an accused upon an uncorroborated evidence because failure to do so can lead to the setting aside of his judgment upon 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 courts on different issues arising from corroboration. In law, corroboration is popular yet controversial. This is due to the influence and interpretation of the provisions of the Evidence Act and the Criminal and Penal Code (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 is the core focus of this study. This work will therefore elucidate the meaning of corroboration, the role of the judges in deciding both civil and criminal cases and various statutory provisions in respect of corroboration of evidence in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background of the Study

A piece of evidence which Confirms, supports or reinforces same fact is said to be corroboration of that other one. [1]  Corroboration is formally defined as a confirmation of a witness’s evidence by independent testimony of another witness. [2]  Such evidence is usually but not always contained in the testimony of another witness. However, there is no law that says the plaintiff or the prosecution must bring billions of witness or evidence before he can succeed in his case. A court may convict an accused on the evidence of a single witness.

One solitary credible witness can establish a case beyond reasonable doubt. [3]  This principle is recognized under Section 200 of the Evidence Act [4] . The general rule is that corroboration is not required except where the law demands it, and the cases where it is required are said to be exceptions to the general rule under Section 200 of the Evidence Act 2011 [5]  Corroboration is said to be evidence tendered to confirm facts 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.

 According to Osborn’s Concise Dictionary, corroboration is an independent evidence which implicates a person accused of a crime by connecting him with it, or an evidence which confirms in some facts particularly not only that the crime has been committed but also that the accused actually committed the crime. Corroboration is a mandatory requirement under certain circumstance, 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 called for where there is need to assert that such evidence can be relied upon to convict the accused person. It 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, the accused cannot be convicted on such existing evidence. However, this work is based on the analysis of the requirement of corroboration under the Nigerian Law of Evidence

PROJECT TOPIC- CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE REQUIREMENT OF CORROBORATION UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW OF EVIDENCE

1.2   Statement of Problem

Corroboration under the Nigerian judicial system has some few problems associated to it and they include, firstly, there are certain crimes, particularly sexual or domestic assault, where the requirement for corroboration obstructs justice.

Corroboration is said to cause problems in some murder cases where there is not enough evidence to convict and in turn may result in miscarriage of justice. Conviction rate for sexual offences will improve if corroboration were to be abolished.

Corroboration also creates problems in securing conviction in child abuse cases.

1.3   Research Questions

In the course of this research work, the following questions form the pivot of the analysis of issues that clarify the content;

  1. What are the elements of corroboration?
  2. What is the effect of corroboration on evidence that requires corroboration?
  3. Does an unsworn evidence of a child require corroboration?

1.4   Objective of Study                                                  

The main purpose of this research work is to critically analyze the requirement of Corroboration in the Nigerian law of Evidence in other to shed more light on the concept of corroboration in our legal system. Furthermore, the essay tends to highlight circumstances where corroboration may or must be required. It will also show the effects of corroboration on a piece of evidence which requires corroboration. It will examine the position of the judges on corroboration issues and examine the provision of the Evidence Act on corroboration.

1.5   Research Methodology

In this research work, both primary and secondary sources of law will be the basis for this research work. Thus, the Evidence Act, law text books, law reports, articles on law, various statutes and cases on the subject matter, are the sources of the information. The project shall also be analytical in nature.

1.6   Relevance/Purpose of the Study

Corroboration as a doctrine in the Nigerian Law of Evidence has some relevance. One of such is that it helps in the assessing the veracity of the testimony of a witness before admission by the judge. This is to the effect that evidence or testimony of a witness might be predicated upon lies in a given circumstance. It is only by the corroboration of the evidence that the judge will be convinced upon the admission.

1.7   Scope of the Study

Though the concept of corroboration is so vast in its application, it shall only focus on the critical analysis on the requirement of corroboration under the Nigerian Law of Evidence.

1.8   Limitation to the Study

In the effort to make this research work a success, several limitations were encountered. Among the limitations includes the cost of accessing materials for the research work and also assemblage of material for the completion of this research work. There was also limited time to carry out this research work.

[1] Fidelis Nwadialo, Modern Nigerian law of Evidence, (Lagos: University of Lagos 1999) p. 431.

[2] Nwambe v The State [1995] 3SCNJ 77 at 97.                                               

[3] Onafowokan v The State [1987] 2NSCC 1099 at 1111, per oputa JSC.

[4] Cap E14 Laws of the Federation 2011

[5] Ibid

PROJECT TOPIC- CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE REQUIREMENT OF CORROBORATION UNDER THE NIGERIAN LAW OF EVIDENCE

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