DEFENCE OF ALIBI- CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE THE DEFENCE OF ALIBI SET UP BY AN ACCUSED PERSON WILL NOT BE FATAL TO THE PROSECUTION’S CASE
"I however consider it pertinent to say that it is settled in law, that non-investigation of alibi where it was given to the Police at the earliest opportunity by the accused person, cannot ipso facto result in the finding of such alibi as established or to have a destructive effect on the case of the prosecution. This in my considered view was the position of the Supreme Court in the old case of Hausa V The State (1994) 6 NWLR (Pt. 350) 281 wherein it was said: -
It appears to me that none of these issues called for wholesale re-evaluation of the evidence adduced at the trial of the Appellant. Although the defence of alibi was not investigated by the police it is clear from the testimonies of P.W.2 and P.W.3 that the Appellant was seen and identified as the assailant of the deceased.
... As both P.W.2 and P.W.3 were believed by the learned trial Judge, the defence of alibi set up by the Appellant becomes untenable, even though the police failed to investigate it. The absence of the investigation is not in the circumstances of this case fatal to the case of the prosecution See ...
In the case of Ntam v. State (1968) NMLR 86, which is similar to the present case, Brett, J.S.C. stated as follows:
There are occasions on which a failure to check an alibi may cause doubt on the reliability of the case for the prosecution, but in a case such as this in here the appellants were identified by three eyewitnesses there was a straight issue of credibility and we are notable to say that the Judges findings of fact were unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence.
Moreover, in Njovens & Ors. v. State, (1973) 5 S.C. 17, Coker J.S.C. made the following observation at p. 65 thereof:
There is nothing extraordinary or esoteric in a plea of alibi. Such a plea postulates that the accused person could have been at a scene of the crime and only inferentially that he was not there. Even if it is the duty of the prosecution to check on a statement of alibi by an accused person and disprove the alibi or attempt to do so, there is no inflexible and/or invariable way of doing this of the prosecution adduced sufficient and accepted evidence to fix the person at the scene of the crime at the material time. Surely, his alibi is thereby logically and physically demolished. (emphasis mine).
-PER A. O. LOKULO-SODIPE, J.C.A IN MICHAEL ORI v. THE STATE
suit no: CA/OW/188/2015
Legalpedia Electronic Citation: (2020) Legalpedia (CA) 65118
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