CONFESSION OF ONE OF THE ACCUSED PERSON AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON IN COMMON AND ISLAMIC LAW
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Under the two laws, confession is a statement by suspect in crime which is adverse to that person. It is a form of evidence that is acceptable because of its objectivities. Confessional statement is admissible in any proceedings as long as it is made to a person in authority and it is relevant to the matter in issue. Confession of an accused may be excluded if the person who made such statement was oppressed. The persons who can make confessions are the accused or co-defendant. Thus, a conviction could be based upon confessional statement of an accused. Confession of one of the accused person against another, in common and Islamic law does not have practicable effect because confession as a principle of law is only used in the law of criminal evidence where by the statement of an accused strictly binds him alone and not his co-defendant except if the co-defendant adopt such statement that has been made by the accused, except this, the accused confessional statement cannot be used against any other person. However, despite this similarity between the two concepts there are still areas of differences that linger on between the concepts.
One of the sources of proof of a crime or a right is confession. Confession is one of the means of establishing evidence under Islamic and Common law. Thus, to understand the concept of confession, for it relates to any party in any matter, the principle of evidence must be looked upon. Literally, evidence is information by which facts tends to be proved. And the law of evidence is that body of legal rules regulating the means by which facts may be proved in courts of law. This is according to common law principle of evidence.
However, the Islamic law has laid great stress on the evidence to prove the facts relevant for the judgment of a court. Despite the fact that the Holy Qur‟an and Sunnah of the Prophet had repeatedly demanded for justice and condemn injustice, which made it compulsory that every legal matter should be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has admitted the crime or the defendant has violated the right of the plaintiff, the court cannot give judgment against the accused or the defendant. One of the prophetic saying (S.A.W) in buttressing the above assertion is as follows: „If people would be given what they claim (without evidence), some persons would claim other people‟s blood and properties, but it is obligatory on the claimant to produce evidence‟. This shows that evidence is of supreme importance in the administration of justice, if thus follow that confession as a means of establishing a proof (i.e. evidence) is an important lead to justice.
1.1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The early courts in Nigeria were mainly the customary courts presided over by the traditional rulers and chiefs. In the Northern part of Nigeria, however, there is existence of Islamic law. There are rules of evidence applicable in the customary courts which are still applicable in those courts till the introduction of the English common law on evidence.
Up till 1945 when the Nigeria Evidence Act was enacted in those courts established by the British and until now it still remained almost the same in form and substance, though it has been amended from time to time. It is however now set out in the compilation of the laws of Nigeria of 1990. Confession on the other hand, from the common law perspective was first developed from in the Roman Catholic Church under the sacrament of penance, where the confession of a sin is considered to be enough to absolve oneself. Islamic law on the other hand, considered confession as one of the ways in which facts could be proved since the Qur‟an has in no way bound the Muslims to adopt a particulars method in proving a crime as long as it is accordance with the universally acceptable methods of legal ethics endorsed sense and reason. But it is, evident from research that confession is a method of proof being used by the prophet when he was alive.
1.2.0 FOCUS OF STUDY
This project focuses on how the confession of one of the accused person affected any other person who is not an accused under shariah and common law of evidence and its applicability in Nigeria court. It also covers largely, the principle of confession in both common and shariah law and recommendation on the two laws.
1.3.0 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The title of this research work covers a wide range of topics and so it concentrates on the historical background on both shariah and common law. It also covers on the concept of confession in common and shariah law. In order to show the variance of this project, the effect of confession of one of the accused person against another person was critically analyze and its applicability in Nigeria courts under both shariah and common law as an institution at administering justice in Nigeria. In conclusion, this long essay recommends for the effective application of the concept of confession as its relates to each party for arriving at a just course.
The scope of this research is a wide one. Thus, there will be reliabilities on authority gathered from textbooks written by professional and academics scholars on both laws. Cases from law reports and necessary statutes as its deem fit will be used. The provision from the Holy Qur‟an and the Sunnah of the prophet is an important authority to buttress the points on the principle of confession. Also, materials from interest will be used to complete this research work as we are now in E-world.
1.5.0 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
This research work aims at answering question on whether the accused confession against another person. If he can, whether its binds the person whom the confession has been tendered against and the admissibility of such confessional statement in both common law and shariah courts respectively in this country.
1.6.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
The principle of law of evidence on which this topic has been chosen is a very fundamental and wide area of law. However, there are various textbooks under both shariah and common law that have been written by different and distinguished scholars in the field. The following are some of the authors and statute that have been referred to in this project: PROF. DR. ANWARULLAH in his Principles of Evidence in Islam stated that it is universally upon by the Islamic jurists that the accused cannot be forced to admit guilt. He further says that, Ibn al-Hazm suggest in al Muhalla that neither the Quran, nor the Sunnah or Ijma allow examination by beating, imprisonment or threat. A.L AKINTOLA and A.A ADEDEJI in A Book of Readings in honor of Oluwarotimi O AKEREDOLU, SAN, stated that a confession must be voluntary if it is to be admissible in evidence, thus, a confession must be direct, positive and unequivocal.
CAP 112 LFN OF 1990, Nigeria Evidence Act in its section 27(1) stated that an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime, stating or suggesting the inference that he committed the crime is confession. The above and many other text and journals are the books consulted in the course of this particular long essay.
1.7.0 DEFINITION OF TERMS
To make this research work an accessible material, it is pertinent to define some necessary terms which are as follows: EVIDENCE: There are many definitions for the principle of evidence as the testimony, hearsay, documents, things and facts which a court will accept as evidence of fact in an issue, in the case of Akintola and ors v. Solana. Oputa JSC stated that:
„If a thing is evident (clear) it does not require evidence. What therefore is evidence? Simply put, it is the truth of which is submitted for investigation may be established or disposed. Evidence is therefore necessary to prove or disprove an issue or fact‟.
Evidence is Islamic law is derive from and Arabic word called Bayyinah. In the words of Ibn Qayyim2, he says that the word Bayyinah in the language of the Qur‟an is the name of everything by which the truth becomes evident. However, the authority on evidential proof under Islamic law is the hadith of Tirmidhi, No. 1261 that prophet (SAW) said: „To substantiate a crime is the claimant‟s responsibility, and the person who refutes it will have to swears an oath‟.
ACCUSED: According to the Black‟s law dictionary with pronunciation, fifth edition. Accused is the general name for the defendant in a criminal case. The person becomes an accused within the meaning of guarantee of speedy trial only at point at which either formal indictment or information has been returned against him or when he becomes subject to actual restraint on his liberty imposed by arrest which ever first occurs, this was said in State v. Almida .
ADMISSION: Confessions, concessions or voluntary acknowledgments made by a party of the existence of certain facts. More accurately regarded, they are statements by a party, or someone identified with him in legal interest, of the existence of a fact which is relevant to the cause of his adversary4.
In Rookie v. General Motors Corps5, was defined as a voluntary acknowledgment made by a party of the existence of the truth of certain facts which are inconsistent with his claim in action.
An admission is not limited to words, but may also include the demeanor, conducts band acts of the person charged with a crime, as in People v. Baldi.
REFERENCE TO THE CHARGE: For a confession to be relevant, it must own to the fact of the threat, or inducement and the threat or inducement must have some reference to the charge7. TEMPORAL NATURE: This means that the threat, inducement or promise must be sufficient in the opinion of the court to give the accused person grounds which would appears to him reasonable for supposing that by making the confession he could gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature.
This chapter is an introductory part of the long essay, which is generally referred to as the first part of any project. This chapter reflects and introduces what the whole project portrays.
The chapter is in break down and each segment has its own influence on the out look of the chapter. These segments ranges from the introduction of the chapter that gives the long essay the real nature of the topic, the scope reflects on the limitation of the write up, aim of the long essay depicts the intention and the goal set to achieve, methodology reflects on the style and how the material are sourced, the literature review referred to the materials using for the write up, definition of terms is the segment that gives meaning to the important terms used, the focus of the study is the aspect that gives what the project visualized and aim at discussing and the conclusion which is the segment that summarises the whole chapter.
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