IS A MEDICAL REPORT ADMISSIBLE EVEN IF NOT TENDERED THROUGH THE MAKER?
CASE TITLE: ETUK-UDO v. STATE (2020) LPELR-49164(CA)
JUDGMENT DATE: 7TH JANUARY, 2020
PRACTICE AREA: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE
LEAD JUDGE: OBANDE FESTUS OGBUINYA, J.C.A.
SUMMARY OF JUDGMENT:
This appeal borders on criminal law and procedure.
This appeal queries the correctness of the decision of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, holden at Abak, coram judice: Ezekiel O. Enang, J., in Charge No. HA/8C/2012 delivered on 10th July 2017.
On or about 6th June 2009, at about 10 pm, the appellant, with two other persons at large, was alleged to have unlawfully killed Monday Matthew and Owoidoho Monday Matthew by pouring petrol on them and setting them ablaze. On the same day, they were also, alleged to have burnt down the Holy African Church building and Q-Link motorcycle, the latter being the property of Elder Ime Matthew. The police duly carried out investigations into the allegations. Thereafter, the appellant was arraigned before the lower Court for the offences of murder and arson contrary to the provisions of Sections 323 and 464 of the Criminal Code Cap. 38, vol.2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000 respectively. The appellant pleaded not guilty to the 2-count information.
Following the plea of not guilty, the lower Court had a full-scale determination of the case. In proof of the case, the respondent fielded one witness, PW1, and tendered eight exhibits. In defence of the case, the appellant testified in person, as DW1, and called no other witness. At the closure of evidence, the parties, through their respective counsel, addressed the lower Court. In a considered judgment, delivered on 10th July 2017, the lower court convicted the appellant on the two counts and sentenced him to death and life imprisonment respectively.
Dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.
ISSUES FOR DETERMINATION
The Court adopted the following issues for the determination of the appeal:
- Whether the learned trial Judge was right when he admitted and placed reliance on Exhibits 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 to convict and sentence the appellant to death.
- Whether having regards to the evidence adduced by the parties, the learned trial Judge was right when he held inter alia that the Prosecution had proved its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and accordingly convicted and sentenced the appellant to death by hanging.
In the final analysis, the Court of Appeal by a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal.
- CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE- GUILT OF AN ACCUSED PERSON: How to establish/prove the guilt of an accused person
- EVIDENCE- MEDICAL EVIDENCE: Whether a medical report is admissible even if not tendered through the maker
- EVIDENCE- MEDICAL EVIDENCE: Circumstance where medical evidence would not be needed
- EVIDENCE- ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE: Appropriate time to object to the admissibility of evidence, effect of failure to do so
- EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Nature of a confessional statement
- EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: Whether confession is the best form of evidence in a criminal trial
- EVIDENCE- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT: When does a confessional statement become part of the case of the prosecution