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Corroboration Of Evidence

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There is no law where provision is made for the number of witnesses that must testify before a plaintiff or the persecution will 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. But there are exceptions, such exceptions are circumstances where corroboration is required before a judge can decide his case.
Corroboration is the ground for the amenability of certain evidence for the purpose of conviction and if the corroborating evidence is not the same with the existing evidence an accused cannot be convicted upon such existing evidence. Corroboration simply means confirmation, support. In Ogumbayo V. State (2007) 8 NWLR (Pt 1035) P. 157, the Supreme Court holds per Ogbuagu JSC that “corroboration is not technical term of art and means no more than evidence tending to confirm, support and strengthen other evidence sought to be corroborated”.
Hence corroborative evidence is an independent testimony implicating the accused to the charge and supportive of the testimony requiring corroboration. This corroborative evidence may be the testimony of another witness, or in a piece of real evidence tendered or in the conduct of the accused himself or from what the accused said. Corroboration therefore implies the existence of more than one piece of evidence, in which the corroborative evidence comes in to confirm, ratify, verify or validate the existing evidence coming from another independent witness or witnesses.
Corroboration of evidence is not required exception where the law demands it. Oputa JSC in Onafowakan V. The State (1987) 7 SCNJ @ 233 holds that. “It is trite that the evidence of one solitary credible witness can establish a case beyond reasonable doubt and that it is said that truth is not discovered by a majority vote”. Although a court of law need not take the fact of the number of witnesses per se into account in deciding which side that would succeed, yet the Evidence Act creates some exceptions in relation thereto.
Some of the exceptions are treason and treasonable offence, perjury, an unsworn evidence of a child witness and Breach of Promise to marry. Breach of Promise to marry is perhaps the only instance of civil cause in which corroboration is required as a matter of law for a plaintiff to recover a verdict. Section 197 of the Evidence Act 2011 provides that “no plaintiff in any action for breach of Promise of marriage can recover a verdict, unless his or her testimony is corroborated by some other material evidence in support of such promises….”
Corroboration is an exception created by law and judicial practio, the general rule being that one qualitative evidence is enough to found a conviction.

 

By: Nkechi Bright-Ewere

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Law/Judiciary

Businessman Docked For Theft Of Melon

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Godwin Thomas,35,of North Bank, Makurdi, was on Friday arraigned before a Makurdi Magistrates’ Court for alleged conspiracy and theft of melon.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Godwin Ato, told the court that the case was reported by one Ukaan Shimana of behind NKST Church, North Bank Makurdi, at the ‘C’ Division Police Station, North Bank.
Ato said that the complainant kept three bags of Egusi (melon) worth N200,000 with Godwin Thomas, Ebuka Emmanuel and Titus Kpanor.
Ato said that the defendants were the custodians of a store along Ter-Guma Street in North Bank area of Makurdi.
The prosecutor said that the complainant later discovered that the bags were missing.
He alleged that the defendant and his friends had stolen the bags containing the melon when she went there to collect them.
Ato also said that Ebuka Emmanuel and Titus Kpanor were immediately arrested and charged to Chief Magistrate’s Court 8, North Bank.
The prosecutor said that during further investigation by the police, the defendant who initially was at large; was later arrested in connection with the crime.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.
The prosecutor told the court that investigation into the matter had been completed and that other defendants were already standing trial at CMC 8 North Bank in Makurdi.
Ato said that the court should arraign the defendants in the same court.
He prayed the court to adjourn so that the case could be transferred to CMC 8 North Bank.
The magistrate, Mrs Ajuma Igama, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000.00 with one  surety who must  be a civil servant with Benue Government.
Igama also ordered that the case file be transferred to CMC 8 for hearing and determination of the case.
She adjourned until Jan 24 for hearing.

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Law/Judiciary

Police Arraign Three For Damaging N1.8m Parking Iron Bars

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The police yesterday arraigned three men in a Karmo Grade I Area Court, Abuja, for allegedly damaging parking iron bars worth N1.8 million.
The police charged Mohammed Musa, Innocent Adama and Izuchukwu Nwaigwe with two counts of joint act and mischief.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mrs Ijeoma Ukagha, told the court that the matter was reported at the Utako Police Station on Dec. 14, 2019, by one Adewole Adeola, who  of Dove Court Estate, Abuja.
Ukagha alleged that the defendants intentionally damaged  the iron bars and demarcation drums worth N1.8million at the Dove Estate.
She said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 327 of the Penal Code.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The judge, Alhaji Inuwa Maiwada, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200, 000 each, with a surety each in like sum.
Maiwada ordered that the sureties must be reliable and must deposit his or her identity card at the court registry for verification.
He also ordered that the sureties must resides within the jurisdiction of the court and his or she address must be verified by the court officer.
Maiwada adjourned the case until Feb. 12 for hearing.

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Law/Judiciary

Missing N35m: Defence Counsel’s Ill-Health Stalls Trial Of JAMB Official

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The trial of Yakubu Jekada, one of the accused persons charged with  the misappropriation of N35 million belonging to  JAMB, was stalled in an FCT High Court, Maitama, due to the defendant counsel’s ill-health.
Jekada was first arraigned on May 31, 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Peter Affen of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
He was arraigned on a four count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and dishonest use of JAMB funds to the tune of N11.189 million.
The JAMB official was accused of committing criminal breach of trust while being JAMB state coordinator for Plateau between 2009 and 2016 when he was entrusted with 11, 189 units of e-facility cards belonging to the Board which he disposed without duly rendering accounts to the Board.
On the resumed sitting on Tuesday, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Ekene Iheanacho, informed the court that the matter was for continuation of trial and he was with his two witnesses.
Responding, Mr Gyang Zi, counsel to Jekada, prayed for an adjournment.
“I took ill yesterday before I left Jos. I am feeling funny, and I went to get some drugs thinking it would help me out.
“But it continued, I sincerely apologise for the inconveniences it would cause the court and others, including the witnesses,” Zi said.
Iheanacho said that the learned counsel has presented a sympathetic picture before the court based on health.
“So, we will not be objecting to his application for adjournment,” Iheanacho said.
After listening to the lawyers, Justice Peter Affen adjourned the matter until March 3, for continuation of trial.

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