NATURE OF CONTRADICTIONS IN TESTIMONIES OF WITNESSES THAT CAN VITIATE THE DECISION OF COURT  

 

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12/05/2020 1:57 pm  
"True, indeed, testimonies of witnesses can only be said to be contradictory when they give inconsistent accounts of the same event. That explains why the law takes the view that for contradictions in the testimonies of witnesses to vitiate a decision, they must be material and substantial. That is, such contradictions must be so material to the extent that they cast serious doubts on the case presented as a whole by the party on whose behalf the witnesses testify, or as to the reliability of such witnesses, Enahoro v Queen (1965) NMLR 265, endorsed in Ogun v Akinyele [2004] 18 NWLR (pt 905) 362, 392; Emiator v State [1975] 9-10 SC 112; Ikemson v State[1989] 3 NWLR (pt 110) 455, 479; Afolalu v State [2009] 3 NWLR (pt 1127) 160.

 

This is so because it would be miraculous to find two persons who witnessed an incident giving identical accounts of it when they are called upon to do so at a future date. If that were to happen, such accounts would be treated with suspicion, as it is likely that the witnesses compared notes. In effect, minor variations in testimonies seem to be badges of truth, Okoziebu V State [2003] 11 NWLR (pt 831) 327, 341; Nasaru v State [1999] 6- 9 SC 153; Ikemson v State (supra). In any event, courts have even taken the view that witnesses may not always speak of the same facts or events with equal and regimented accuracy, Ogun v Akinyele [2004] 18 NWLR (pt 905) 362, 392.

 

In all, for contradictions in the evidence of prosecution witnesses to affect a conviction, particularly, in a capital offence, they must raise doubts as to the guilt of the accused person, Nwosisi v State [1976] 6 SC 109; Ejigbadero v State [1978] 9- 10 SC 81; Kalu v State [1988] 4 NWLR (pt 90) 503; Igbiv State [2000] FWLR (pt 3) 358; [2000] 3 NWLR (pt 648) 169."
 
 
PER C. C. NWEZE, J.S.C. IN OKE SHOLA V THE STATE

APPEAL NO: SC. 671/2018


 


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