JUDGMENT AND ORDER – PERVERSE DECISION – Duty of a party who complains that the judgment of a lower Court is perverse


“The law is settled that an Appellant who complains that the decision of the trial Court is perverse for lack of adequate or proper evaluation of oral and documentary evidence, must prove or establish that the Court of first instance made improper use of opportunity of seeing the witnesses testified before him. He must show that there was misapplication of oral and documentary placed before the lower Court. He must endeavour to prove that the lower Court failed to ascribe probative value to the evidence led or that wrong inferences were drawn leading to wrong conclusions or miscarriage of justice making it imperative for the Appellate Court to intervene and reevaluate the oral and documentary evidence. See; 1. CHIEF JAMES O. OLONADE & ANOR VS. H – B SOWEMIMO (2014) 14 NWLR (PART 1428) 472 AT 495 G – H TO 496 per M. D. MOHAMMED who said: “Firstly, evaluation of relevant and material evidence and the ascription of probative value to such evidence are the primary functions of the trial Court which saw, heard and assessed the witnesses as they testified. Where the trial Court unquestionably evaluate the evidence and justifiably appraises the Facts, as it has been manifestly shown to have been done in the instant case it is not the business of the lower Court, an appellate Court, to substitute its own views for the views of the trial Court. The application of this trite principle by the lower Court cannot, certainly, be a basis for the reversal of the Court’s decision. See Mogaji v. Odofin (1978) 4 SC 91; Ojokolobo v. Alamu (1998) 9 NWLR (Pt. 565) 226 and Sha v. Kwan (2000) 5 SC 178 (2000) 8 NWLR (PT. 670) 685. Secondly, in a civil matter such as this, the Court decides the case on the balance of probabilities or preponderance of evidence. The trial Court does this by first deciding which evidence it accepts from each of the parties, putting the accepted evidence adduced by the plaintiff on one side of the imaginary scale and that of the defendant on the other side of the scale weighing them together. The Court then decides which side’s evidence is heavier, not by the number of witnesses called by either party or on the basis of the one being oral and the other being documentary, but by the quality or probative value of the evidence be it oral and/or documentary. See Fagbenro v. Arobadi (2006) 7 NWLR (PT. 978) 172.” 2. MRS ELIZABETH IRABOR ZACCALA VS MR KINSLEY EDOSA & ANOR (2018) 6 NWLR (PART 1616) 528 AT 545 B – D per M. D. MUHAMMAD, J.S.C. who said: “It is trite that the trial Court is vested with the primary duty of evaluating evidence and ascribing probative value to same. This primacy in the Court’s responsibility arises out of the fact of the advantage it has of seeing and, from observation of the witnesses, making impressions as they testified. Thus where the trial Court fails to bring the advantage to play in evaluating the evidence of the witnesses or where being documents, as in the instant case, the issue of credibility is not at play, the appellate Court is in as good a position as the trial Court to re- appraise the evidence and make correct inferences. See Atoyebi & Anor v. The Governor of Oyo State & Ors (1994) 5 NWLR (Pt. 344) 290, Dakat v. Dashe (1997) 12 NWLR (Pt. 531) 46 and Ajibulu v. Ajayi (2013) LPELR-21860 (SC): (2014) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1392) 483.” Per IGE, J.C.A. in APC & ANOR v. OBASEKI & ORS (2021-LCER-40451-CA) (Pp 50 – 52 Paras A – F)

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