EVIDENCE – BURDEN OF PROOF/STANDARD OF PROOF – Burden and standard of proof in criminal cases; how same is discharged


“It is well-known that, in criminal trials, an alleged offence must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, Kofi v Queen (1955) WACA 648; Bode v COP (1970) NMLR 145, 150; Nwaturuocha v State (2011) 6 NWLR (pt. 1242) 170. This does not mean “proof beyond all doubt” or “proof to the hilt”. The Prosecution does not require a magic wand in order to attain this standard of proof. What the Prosecution is required to do is, simply, to put forth to the Court, evidence so strong, convincing and compelling, such that a reasonable person of ordinary prudence, after the entire consideration of all the evidence, leaves his mind in a condition that he cannot say he felt an abiding conviction, to a moral certainty, of the truth of the charge, Basil Akalezi v State (1993) 2 NWLR (pt 273) 1, 13, paragraphs C-D; Okeke v State (1995) 4 NWLR (pt. 392) 676; Akinyemi v State (1999) 6 NWLR (pt. 607) 499; Osetola v State (2012) 17 NWLR (pt. 1329) 251. This burden of proof rests primarily on the Prosecution and is not relieved of this burden simply because an accused person admitted to the commission of the offence in his statement to the Police, Alonge v IGP (1959) 5 SCNLR 516.” Per CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE, JSC in AKINKUNMI v. STATE (2022-LCER-46533-SC) (Pp 20 – 21; Paras C – C)

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