EVIDENCE – CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT – Whether a confessional statement becomes inadmissible because an accused person retracted or denied making it


“…The above extra-judicial statement to my mind is an admission by the Appellant to having committed the offence with which he was charged. Although, he later reciled from having made the statement, the law is settled that once a confessional statement is admitted in evidence, it becomes part of the case for the prosecution and the Court is bound to consider its probative value, provided it admits the essential elements of the offence charged and such that when tested against proven facts will show that the accused committed the offence. See Egbongonome v The State (1993) 7 NWLR (pt 306) 383, Edet offiong Ekpe v The State (1994) 9 NWLR (pt 368) page 273, Nwangbonu v The State (1994) 2 NWLR (pt 327) 380, Akpan v The State (2001) 15 NWLR (pt 737) 745, Osung v State (2012) 18 NWLR (pt 1332) 256. The fact that the accused has reciled from the confessional statement does not mean that it cannot be acted upon and relied upon for the conviction of the accused once the Court is satisfied of the truth of the confession. See Edamine v The State (1996) 3 NWLR (pt 438) 530, Ikemson v State (1989) 3 NWLR (pt 110) 530, Federal Republic of Nigeria v Iweka (2013) 3 NWLR (pt 1341) 285. On this point, this Court per Mukhtar, JSC observed in the case of FRN v Iweka (supra) as follows:- “once there is evidence of administration of words of caution on a suspect in the language he understands, and he voluntarily makes his statement, which is so recorded, and he signed the statement a Judge is at liberty to act on it and predicate a conviction thereon.” Per JOHN INYANG OKORO, JSC in WOWEM v. STATE (2021-LCER-40502-SC) (Pp 26 – 27; Paras A – B)

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