On The Effect Of The Retraction Of A Confessional Statement

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It is well grounded law that where on the production of a confession it is challenged on the ground that an accused person did not make it at all, the question whether he made it or not is a matter to be decided at the conclusion of the trial by the learned trial Judge himself. Whatever objection may be made by counsel in such circumstances does not affect the admissibility of the statement and therefore it would be admitted in evidence as the issue of voluntariness or otherwise if the statement does not arise for consideration and decision of this Court See: QUEEN VS IGWE (1960) FSC 55; (1960) SCNLR 158; IKPASA VS ATTORNEY-GENERAL, BENDEL STATE (1981) 9 SC 7.
This Court again in SHUAIBU ABDU VS. THE STATE (2006) 12 SC (Pt. VI) at Page 103 held that:-

 

 

“… the prosecution heavily relied on the confession of the accused/appellant in proof of its case. I am mindful of the fact that a free and voluntary confession of guilt whether judicial or extra-judicial which is direct, positive and properly proved is enough to establish a conviction, so long as the Court is satisfied with its truth. See THOMAS AKPAN EKONG VS. THE STATE (2013) All FWLR (pt. 685) 353; ODEY v. F. R. N (2008) 3 -4 SC 142”.
However, in EGBOGHONOME VS. THE STATE (1993) 7 NWLR (pt. 306) 383 It was held that:-
“Where an extra-judicial confession has been proved to have been made voluntarily and it is positive and unequivocal and amount to an admission of guilt, as in the instant case, it will suffice to ground a finding of guilt regardless of the fact that the maker resiled therefrom or retracted it altogether at the trial, since such u-turn does not necessarily make the confession inadmissible.”
See also QUEEN VS ITULE (1961) 2 SCNLR 183; AREMU VS. THE STATE (1984) 6 SC 85; EJINIMA VS. THE STATE (1991) 6 NWLR (Pt.200) 62: AKPAN VS. THE STATE (1992) 6 NWLR (Pt.248) 439 and AKINFE VS. STATE (1988) 3 NWLR (Pt.85) 729.
In SULE VS. THE STATE (2009) 4 NCC 456, this Court decided that:-
“A Court can still convict on a confessional statement alone even if the accused person resiles from it. A confessional statement is part of the evidence adduced by the prosecution”.
See also ADEKOYA VS. THE STATE (2012) 1 NCC page 7 and ONYEYE VS. THE STATE 7 NCC page 304.



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