LEGAL NUGGETS (28):PRIMARY EVIDENCE.By Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji LL.M (M.IoD), FCAI.

GORI V. IGORI & ORS (2013) LPELR-21027(CA)

PRIMARY EVIDENCE : At what point,will photocopies of a document be deemed admissible

"Thus the court has a duty to reject inadmissible evidence arising from its duty to act only legal evidence. See International Bank of West Africa Ltd. V. Imano (2001) 3 SCNJ Pg. 160; (2001) 3 SC Pg. 182. Primary evidence is the production of the document itself. S. 86(1) EA, 2011. Secondary evidence requires foundation if not little weight attaches to it. See A.G., Oyo v. Fairlakes (1989) 5 NWLR Pt. 121 Pg. 255; S.88 of the Evidence Act 2011. Thus photocopies of a document is admissible when proper foundation has been laid for it. See Habib Nig. Bank v. Koya (1992) 7 NWLR Pt. 251 Pg. 43 Pg. 55-56 where a photocopy has been pleaded by the plaintiff and admitted by the defendant, it is admissible. If the defendant wants to debunk its correctness, he must tender the original. See Nwanji v. Coaster Services (2004) All FWLR Pt.219 Pg. 1150 at 1162. In any event every public document must be proved by producing a Certified True Copy of the said document. See S.112 of the Evidence Act Cap 112 and S.105 of the Evidence Act 2011. In Lawal v. Magaji & Ors. This court upheld the fact that a photocopy of a Certified True Copy is not admissible as against the decision in Iheonu v. Obiukwu (1994) 1 NWLR Pt. 322 Pg. 594 at 601-603. In Araka v. Egbue (2003) 17 NWLR Pt. 848 Pg. 1 at 18 the Supreme Court re-emphasized that by virtue of S. 97(2)(c) of the Evidence Act now S.90(1)(c) of the Evidence Act 2011, the only acceptable secondary evidence of a public document is a certified true copy of the document and none other." Per OGUNWUMIJU, J.C.A. (Pp 13-14,Paras E-E)

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