Law of Evidence: Evidence means the testimony, whether oral, documentary or real, which may be legally received in order to prove or disprove some facts in dispute.
A noteworthy judicial attempts as to the meaning of evidence was provided by the Supreme Court in the case of Akintola & Anor V. Solano (1963) SC 141 at 184, when it stated as follows:
If a thing is evident, it does not require evidence. What therefore is evidence? Simply put, it is the means by which any matter of fact, the truth of which is submitted to investigation, maybe established or disproved. Evidence is therefore necessary to prove or disprove an issue of fact.
Evidence in Nigeria
Sources of Nigeria Law of Evidence
Like every other aspect of the law, the law of evidence derives from certain sources. The following are the sources of the evidence in Nigeria:
- The Evidence Act
- The Constitution
- Regulations made by the Attorney General
- Judicial Decisions and Opinions of Jurists.
- The English Common Law
- Local Statutes
The 1999 Constitution (as amended) makes provisions dealing with evidence. By item 23 of part 1 of the Second Schedule, of the constitution makes “evidence” a matter within the Exclusive Legislative competence of the National Assembly and by item 68, the power extends to “any matter incidental or supplementary, to any matter mentioned elsewhere in this list. By making provisions on or relating to evidence, therefore, the constitution is unarguably, a veritable source of Evidence.
Judicial Decisions and Opinions of Jurists
Judicial decisions and writings of distinguished legal scholars can be identified as another source of the law of evidence. Although judges and legal scholars do not make laws, their construction of the provisions of the law touching on the admissibility or otherwise of a particular piece of evidence is capable of reliance and therefore, constitutes another source of the Nigerian Law of Evidence.
What is evidence in criminal law
Evidence in criminal law refers to the information presented to the court by the prosecution to establish his case against the defendant. it plays a vital role in establishing the guilt or innocence of the accused person. It could be in form of:
- Direct evidence
- Circumstantial evidence
- Confessional statements of the accused person
- Documentary evidence