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Project Topic:

THE EXAMINATION OF THE ADMISSIBILITY OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE IN NIGERIA

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 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1-5 ::   Pages: 78 ::   Attributes: foot notes ::   2,745 people found this useful

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The advent of information technology has introduced humanity into an era of hi-tech communication on the digital platform. This is now the age of swift transfer of information, borderless transactions, electronic transactions (e-transactions)[1]. The automation has radically altered the landscape of human activities. These digital developments have also redefined the pattern of legal proceedings in courts of law across the globe. Therefore, it is imperative that the law must keep pace with modern developments (Akhihiero 2013). Thus, the use of computers and other forms of electronic storage and communications systems has risen sharply in commercial and financial transactions in Nigeria (Charles 2013). The use of digital evidence has increased in the past few decades as courts have allowed the use of e-mail, digital photographs, ATM transaction logs, word processing documents, instant message histories, files saved from accounting programs spreadsheets, internet browser histories, databases, the contents of computer memory, computer backups, computer printouts, Global Positioning System tracks, logs from electronic door locks, and digital video or audio files (Muzaffar 2013). Electronic evidence has therefore assumed a very important position in the adjudication of disputes or cases be they criminal or civil. The law of evidence in Nigeria made provisions for the admissibility of computer generated or electronic evidence through section 84 of the Evidence Act, 2011[2].

Forensic science ‘is a broad range of evidence related disciplines, some laboratory-based (as with nuclear and mitochondrial-DNA analysis, toxicology and drug analysis), others based on interpretation of observed patterns (as with fingerprints, writing samples, tool marks, bite marks, and specimens), and yet others based on a combination of experiential and scientific analysis (as with explosives and fire debris analysis, blood spatter analysis). In a court of law, the Judge is the decider of what facts establishes what consequence. Consequently evidence of forensic character can only rank as opinion but may be patronisingly referred to as ‘opinion evidence’. Opinion evidence is a sort of conclusion, ‘an inference from observed and communicable data’ or facts. The opinion may be given by way of oral testimony in court or may be in the form of a written report[3]. This distinction is important because evidence given as oral testimony may additionally be affected by other considerations that generally affect the evidential value of any oral testimony in court, just as a written report dumped on the court may carry no weight. As a general rule, opinion evidence is inadmissible; a witness may only speak of facts which he personally perceived, not of inferences drawn from those facts. To the general rule, however, are several exceptions in ss 68 to 76 Evidence Acts, two of which are relevant to our discourse. Firstly, an appropriately qualified expert may state his opinion on a matter calling for the expertise which he possesses. Secondly, a non-expert witness may state his opinion on a matter, not calling for any particular expertise, but as a way of conveying the facts, which he personally perceived. It is in the class of experts’ opinion that forensic evidence will obviously fall and our discussion will centre on this[4]. In any event, opinion evidence should be intended to provide decision-makers with information which is outside their experience or knowledge and the court should consider whether the witness is in any better position than the court is, to form an opinion or to draw inferences from the facts.4 Even at that, the common law prohibits opinion evidence from being given about a fact in issue (otherwise referred to as the ultimate issue) for that is the domain of the Judge alone.

  1. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The proliferation of crime and other social vices in Nigeria have become do worrisome and the difficulties faced by the Nigerian police and the judiciary on crime detection brought about forensic evidence. However despite the introduction of the use of forensic evidence, there are still some pitfalls to consider; one of them is lack of adequate funding of the police and judiciary to carry out an adequate forensic investigation. Lastly there are lots of studies crime and evidence but none of these studies have been able to throw more light on the admissibility of forensic evidence in Nigeria; hence a need for the study.

1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main aim of the research work is to examine the admissibility of forensic evidence in Nigeria. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. to  examine the reliability of forensic evidence in case proceedings
  2. to determine the types of forensic evidence in Nigeria
  3. to determine the challenges of forensic crime investigation in Nigeria
  4. to recommend ways of improving forensic investigative techniques in Nigeria

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The study came up with research questions so as to ascertain the above stated objectives of the study. The following research questions guide the objectives of the study:

  1. How reliable is forensic evidence in case proceedings in Nigeria?
  2. What are the types of forensic evidence in Nigeria?
  3. What are the challenges of forensic crime investigation in Nigeria?
  4. What are the ways of improving forensic investigative techniques in Nigeria?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study on the examination of the admissibility of forensic evidence in Nigeria will be of immense benefit to the Nigeria judiciary and her citizens. The study will explore the components of forensic evidence and how it is applied in the Nigeria judiciary. The study will also serve as a repository of information to other researchers and students that desire to carry out similar research on the above topic. Finally the study will contribute to the body of the existing literature on the admissibility of forensic evidence in Nigeria.

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

 The study will cover on the examination of the admissibility of forensic evidence in Nigeria.  

1.8 DEFINTION OF TERMS

FORENSIC EVIDENCE: Forensic evidence is evidence obtained by scientific methods such as ballistics, blood test, and DNA test and used in court. Forensic evidence often helps to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects.

CRIME: a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term crime does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes.

JUDICIARY: The judiciary is the branch of government which administers justice according to law. The term is used to refer broadly to the courts, the judges, magistrates, adjudicators and other support personnel who run the system. The courts apply the law, and settle disputes and punish law-breakers according to the law

 


[1] Akhihiero, P.A. “Admissibility of Electronic Evidence in Criminal Trials, How Practicable”? Being a paper presented at the 2013 Annual General Meeting of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria, Edo State, from 23rd of July, 2013

[2] Chijioke, C.O., “Admissibility of Electronic Generated Evidence in Nigeria: Issues and Responses”, in International Journal of Advanced Scientific Research, Vol. 1, 2017, pp. 77-78 Evidence-Legal definition of evidence, available at http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/evidence, accessed on 1 April 2019

[3] This paper is an excerpt from the author’s book titled ‘Practice Notes on the Evaluation of Evidence’ (2015) 1 Black’s Law Dictionary (10th edn., 2014) p. 764

[4] Evidence Act, 2011 s67: The opinion of any person as to the existence or non-existence of a fact in issue or relevant to the fact in issue is inadmissible except as provided in sections 68 to 76 of this Act.


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Paper Information

Format:ms word
Chapter:1-5
Pages:78
Attribute:foot notes
Price:₦3,000
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