EVIDENCE 1.1A INTRODUCTION (DEFINITION AND SUPERIORITY)
Evidence generally discloses the truth of a matter-Sebastin Tar (HON).
It is a specie of proof or probative matter legally presented at the trial of any issue by the parties… to induce belief in the mind of the court… as to their contentions– Onya V Ogbuji.
Phipson: testimony… which may be legally received in order to prove or disprove some fact in issue: Criticism: Limited. No electronic evidence,
Cross: testimony… which the court would accept as evidence of fact in issue. Criticism: Inadmissible evidence is also evidence
Noakes: … facts which are legally admissible and the legal means of proving such facts. Criticisms: Illegally obtained evidence may also be received, evidence can prove and disprove a case… not only prove it.
Hirst sees it as rules regulating the means by which facts may be proved.
Aguda: …the means by which facts are proved but excluding inferences and arguments. Criticisms: inferences are part of evidence-Edamine V The State. See Section 28 EA E.g. The court is entitled to infer the intention of a person from the nature of his action. E.g. where a person is found in possession of an item soon after the theft, the courts can infer that the person has something to do with the theft-Section 36 EA.. This undermines Aguda’s definition/argument. Evidence also includes disproving a fact.
In Koko V Lawan as any type of proof or probative matter legally presented at the trial of an issue.
According to Phipson, evidence may be seen in two way viz:
- As the testimony OR
- The content of that testimony.
Evidence aids a party in substantiating his claim.
In Nwobodo V Nwobodo, the court noted that it is bound by the evidence placed before it and courts are not allowed to rely on extraneous matters. It is for the parties to adduce evidence not for the court to fish out evidence… therefore there can be waiver where a party knows that a particular evidence can aid his contention but he decides not to rely on it.
“Evidence consists of laws, rules, principles, and procedures that regulates the means or methods of proving facts or adducing evidence before a court of law or tribunal”.
Section 2 EA provides for the superiority of the EA and it prevails in relation to matters of admissibility of evidence. This does not mean that other provisions in relation to admissibility would be rejected… it would only be accepted subject to the provision of the Evidence Act. Note however, that the constitution which is the grand norm prevails over the Evidence Act-Section 1 of the 1999 Constitution-AG Abia V AG Federation.