EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT – Meaning of a confession and when a statement will be held not to be confessional


“…To my mind, the above set out portion of the Judgment of the lower Court runs contrary to the provisions of Section 28 of the Evidence Act which categorically defined confession as an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime stating or suggesting the inference that he committed that crime. The Appellant’s statement as contained in Exhibit B and B1 did not in any way state or suggest that he committed the offence charged. He merely stated how he met some friends discussing about Pyramid hotel. He denied going to the said hotel with the others on the day of the robbery on 4/4/2004 but that he went to Ugep on 3/4/2004. This in my view, does not constitute a confession within the meaning of Section 28 and the numerous authorities on the subject. THE CASE OF GBADAMOSI VS THE STATE (1992) 9 NWLR (PT. 1266) 465 also relied on by the Appellant is quite instructive wherein this Court per Uche Omo JSC (now of blessed memory) held inter alia by stating:- “In his judgment, the learned trial Judge held Exhibit J., which is the statement of the 2nd Appellant to the police to be a confession… What the 2nd Appellant admitted in that statement is being a party to the attempted sale of a stolen car. That is not the offence for which he was charged. To constitute a confession a statement must admit or acknowledge that the maker thereof committed the offence for which he was charged. It must in doing so be clear, precise and unequivocal.” See also NWEZE VS STATE (2018) 6 NWLR (PT. 1615) 197, where this Court referred to Gbadamosi case with approval in defining the nature of a statement that will constitute a confessional statement. The lower Court seems to have erred by relying on corroborative evidence of PW2, PW3 and PW4 as a justification to agree with the view of the trial Court that Exhibits B and B1 are confessional statements even in the absence of portion therein admitting the involvement of the Appellant as one of those who went to rob PW2 in Pyramid Hotel on the morning of 4/4/2004.” Per SAMUEL CHUKWUDUMEBI OSEJI, JSC in UTTO v. STATE (2021-LCER-40501-SC) (Pp 14 – 16; Paras C – A)

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