EVIDENCE – TAINTED WITNESS – Whether the fact that a witness is a blood relation of the victim of a crime makes the witness a tainted witness


“… The appellant had sought to impugn the evidence gotten through PW2, PW4 as they are relations of PW4, the prosecutrix. The Supreme Court on the subject matter concerning what the Court should do with tainted witnesses or evidence of witnesses who are related. Thus, in Akalonu v. The State (2002) FWLR (Pt. 114) 536, (2002) 6 SC 107, 1, (2002) 12 MJSC 128, where a similar argument was pressed on, this Court, Kutigi JSC (as he then was) observed and held thus:- “Blood relationship of the witness and the deceased will not by itself alone make the witness tainted or to be regarded as having some purpose of their own to serve in respect of the offence charged. (See Ishola v. The State (1978) 9 – 10 SC 81). It is very clear to me from the record that by no stretch of imagination could either PW1 or PW4 be regarded as an accomplice in the murder of the deceased. They were merely eye witnesses of the gruesome incident. I therefore find no substance in issue 1. I resolve it against the applicant and hold that PW1 and PW4 are not tainted witnesses.” (Italics for emphasis) The Court below at page 121 of the record state thus: “… by tradition and modern events people keep company within certain defined circles of friends or relations, like the instant case, both PW3 and PW4 attended same school and tragedy struck on their way home, the law must not insist that a stranger totally unrelated to the victim and PW4 must be available to offer corroboration, what is necessary for the Court to do in the circumstance is to satisfy itself that the evidence is credible and therefore reliable. It is not enough for an appellant or accused seeking to discredit the evidence of a witness just to flash the issue of being tainted witness just because a witness is related to the victim without any concrete support to such assertion. See Ilodigiwe v. State.” Per PETER-ODILI, J.S.C. in ISMAILA KIWO v. THE STATE (2020- LCER-39167-SC) at p. 26 –p. 28

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