APPEAL – GROUND(S) OF APPEAL – Effect of a ground of appeal from which no issue for determination has been formulated or argument canvassed

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“Although, the Respondent adopted the sole issue as formulated by the Appellant in its own Brief of Argument, it pointed out that a careful look at the issue raised and the arguments canvassed by the Appellant thereon in his Brief disclose that the main complaint is on alleged hearsay evidence of PW4, and corroboration of Exhibits A & B; and that only Grounds 2, 5 and 6 touched or bordered on them. It submitted that the law is that any ground of appeal from which no issue for determination is distilled, is deemed abandoned and liable to be struck out or ignored by an appellate Court, citing Martins V. COP (2005) 7 NWLR (Pt. 925) 614 at 627, Eke V. Ogbonda (2006) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1012) 506 at 523, Akpa V. State (2007) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1019) 500 at 514 and W.A.E.C V. Adeyanju (2008) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1092) 270. The Respondent, therefore, urged this Court to strike out the other Grounds 1, 3, 4 and 7 of the Grounds of Appeal in the Appellant’s Notice of Appeal since no issue for determination has been distilled from those Grounds. The cases cited by the Respondent say clearly that a ground of appeal from which no issue is distilled is deemed abandoned, and is liable to be struck out or ignored by an appellate Court. But, to be more specific with regards to this case, the position of the law is that arguments in a Brief filed at the appellate Court must be based on the issues formulated, as derived from the grounds of appeal – see Chukwuogor V. Obuora (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt. 61) 454, wherein Oputa, JSC, stated: There was a Ground 6 complaining about the costs awarded as “arbitrary, punitive and excessive”. This was not canvassed before us and one should, therefore, regard it as abandoned. In this case, the Appellant’s complaints as gathered from the Grounds of Appeal are that the Court of Appeal was wrong to affirm the trial Court’s decision because: – There is evidence that he retracted his alleged confession [Ground 1] – There was no evidence to corroborate his conviction for culpable homicide [Ground 2] – The evidence of PW1. PW2 and PW3 are contradictory [Ground 3] – There is no evidence that he was not the father of the girl handed to him [Ground 4] – The evidence of PW4, which the Court relied upon, is hearsay evidence [Ground 5] – The two lower Courts cannot pick and choose the evidence of PW4 [Ground 6] – The decision cannot be supported having regard to the evidence [Ground 7] He formulated one Issue for determination in his Brief, which I will restate here – Whether from the facts and circumstances of this case, the learned Justices of the lower Court were right in affirming the conviction and sentence of the Appellant by the trial Court for the offences charged. On the face of it, it is my view that the sole issue formulated by the Appellant is broad enough to encompass the complaints in the seven Grounds of Appeal. But, as the Respondent submitted, arguments in his Brief focused purely on whether the Confessional Statements [Exhibit A & B], required corroboration and whether the evidence of PW4 is partly hearsay evidence in the circumstances of this case. In effect, the other complaints not addressed in his Brief are deemed abandoned.” Per AMINA ADAMU AUGIE, JSC in SAMA’ILA v. STATE(2021-LCER-40498-SC) (Pp 7 – 9; Paras A – E)

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