CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – DEFENCE/PLEA OF ALIBI – Position of the law on the defence of alibi


“On the defence of Alibi, it is trite that Alibi is a defence based on the physical impossibility of a defendant’s guilt by placing him in a location other than the scene of the crime at the relevant time. Where an accused person raises the defence of alibi, such defence should be investigated and must be controverted by reliable or positive evidence by the Prosecution. However, for the Prosecution to be saddled with that responsibility, the defence must be raised timeously, that is, as soon as the accused is arrested and the offence for which he is arrested is explained to him. Not only is accused required to raise the defence timeously, he must provide sufficient particulars of where he was and with whom he was in order to allow for proper investigation by the Prosecution. See Nomayo v. State (2018) LPELR 44729 SC. It follows that a Defendant who sets up the defence of alibi is enjoined to give sufficient details or particulars of his whereabouts in order to enable the Police or the Prosecution investigate it with the view to either affirm it or debunk it. The duty on the Defendant to establish his alibi lies in the fact that the burden of proving the fact peculiarly within his knowledge lies on him by virtue of Sections 140, 131, & 132 of the Evidence Act, 2011. Additionally, fair hearing, particularly audi alteram partem, demands of him not to take the Prosecution by surprise, hence the duty on him, within a reasonable time, to give particulars of his whereabouts. Failure of the Defendant to give particulars of alibi is fatal to the defence. See Kolade v. The State (2017) LPELR-42362 SC. It is also settled that when validly raised with sufficient particulars of the whereabouts of the Defendant, alibi obligates or makes it incumbent on the Prosecution to investigate it with the view of either validating it or debunking it.” Per ABDU ABOKI, JSC in STANLEY OSSAI v. PEOPLE OF LAGOS STATE (2022-LCER-46530-SC) (Pp 23 – 25; Paras F – D)

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