The Defense of Alibi, As Explained to A Lay Man

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By Stanley Alieke, Esq.

Mr. John Aturu lives with his family in Maitama, Abuja. On the 23rd of July, 2022, there was a robbery incident in the neighborhood where Mr. John Aturu resides, and one of the neighbors swore to have seen a person who looks exactly like Mr. John Aturu as one of the Armed robbers. Some of the robbery victims confirmed that who they saw to be amongst the armed robbers is no other person than Mr. John Aturu, they claimed that in fact Mr. John Aturu was the leader of the gang, directing the robbers where to enter and where not to enter.


These testimonies by the victims of the robbery and other residents of the estate placed Mr. John Aturu as the prime suspect of the robbery. The Police went straight to the house of Mr. John Aturu to arrest him and the wife told the police that the husband is not around and that the husband had traveled to London for a business function on the 15th of July 2022 and he is not back yet.

Immediately, Mr. John Aturu got back to Abuja, he was immediately arrested by the police at the airport, on the ground that according to eyewitnesses, he is a prime suspect in a robbery attack that has taken place in his neighborhood. Mr. John Aturu corroborated the earlier statement of the wife that he had traveled to London a week before the robbery took place and he was not even in the country and there is no magical way he could have been involved in the robbery since he is thousand of Kilometers away from the crime scene the time the robbery took place.

Mr. John Aturu in corroborating this his claim of innocence of not being involved in the robbery provided his flight ticket which according to the date stamp proved that truly Mr. John Aturu flew out of the country a week before the robbery incident, Mr. John Aturu also provided his passport which indicated according to the UK immigration stamp that Mr. John Aturu was welcomed to London a week before the incident, Mr. John Aturu also provided his hotel reservations and the details of the hotel management which the police called and they confirmed that Mr. John Aturu was in their hotel as a guest in London the night the robbery took place in Maitama, Abuja, finally, Mr. John Aturu also according to his passport showing the date the Nigerian immigration stamped him into the country, which is days after the robbery has taken place, this proven that he was truly away in London the night the robbery took place.

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This defense that Mr. John Aturu has put up, that he is nowhere near the crime scene or around the robbery scene to have participated in the robbery and bringing out documents and evidence to corroborate his claim is what is known in law as “Alibi”.

The word Alibi is of Latin origin which when translated to English means; “somewhere else”. Simply put, an accused or suspect is somewhere else when the incident took place and was never at the scene of the crime to have participated in the crime.

It is a defense; that at the time and place that a crime occurred, the accused was nowhere near the crime scene.

This defense (Alibi) is to be raised and pleaded at the onset of trial when the accused is required to enter his plea of guilty or not guilty.

If Alibi is successfully pleaded, the defense of not guilty will be entered for the accused and the accused will be discharged and acquitted.

Stanley Alieke is a legal practitioner.

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