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TYPES OF EVIDENCE

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...   Grand Master - ,  10:22 am On 12 Dec 2017

The general rule is that all facts must be proved to exist by evidence. Evidence which may be relied upon may be classified into:

1. Direct Evidence - which may be
(a) Oral evidence or
(b) Real evidence.

2. Indirect Evidence or Circumstantial evidence

3. Hearsay Evidence

4. Documentary Evidence - which may be
(a) Primary evidence or
(b) Secondary evidence.

4. Electronic Evidence

DIRECT EVIDENCE: This supports the truth of a claim directly and not through inferences.

a) Oral Evidence: This is the testimony of a witness given under oath of what the witness perceived with her senses (saw, heard etc)

b) Real Evidence: This refers to all physical things apart from documents which can be inspected by the court. This includes; knives, guns, cars, the scene of the crime, etc.

INDIRECT OR CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE: This supports the truth of a claim through inferences (i.e what the court may infer from a set of facts or circumstances).

Thus if A is seen coming out of B's room with a knife stained in blood, and B is found dead in his room from a stab; although no one witnessed A killing B, the court may infer that A must have killed B.

For circumstantial evidence to be admissible it must be direct, cogent and unambiguous such that the only conclusion which a reasonable man would draw from it is that of guilt. If it's capable of two or more conclusions it's inadmissible. [see Archibong v The State (2006) S.C. 253/2003]

HEARSAY: This is the oral or written account of a person who has not been called as a witness in court. Thus where a witness purports to give evidence of the oral or written account of another person who is not called as a witness, it is deemed to be hearsay.

As a general rule, hearsay evidence are not admissible. [See 38 of the Evidence Act 2011] This is however subject to certain exceptions.

DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE: This is proof of facts by document. The definition of document under section 258 of the Evidence Act is wide, it covers, graphs, plans or drawing inscribed on any substance. This will include writings or drawings on buildings.

a) Primary Evidence: This is the document itself.
b) Secondary Evidence: This is evidence that has been reproduced from the original document, such as a photocopy of a document. It also includes oral accounts of the content of a document.

Only primary evidence is admissible for proof of a content of a document. However, in certain circumstances, the court may allow secondary evidence.

ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE
This refers to evidence produced from a computer. (S. 84 of the Evidence Act 2011).
S. 258 defines a computer as any device for storing and processing information. This includes mobile phones, special calculators capable of storing data etc.


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