LEGAL NUGGETS (Series 106)- ISSUE: DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE: Public Document Exhibited in an Affidavit, Whether Requires Certification..- By Adedotun Habeeb Adetunji, LL.M (M.IoD), FCAI

ISSUE: DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE: Public document exhibited in an affidavit, whether requires certification.

“Public documents exhibited as secondary copies in affidavit evidence cannot necessarily be certified true copies as documents exhibited to an affidavit are already before the court, being part of the affidavit evidence which a court is entitled to look at and use.
In other words, a document attached to or exhibited with affidavit forms part of the evidence adduced by the deponent and is deemed to be properly before the court to be used, once the court is satisfied and it is credible. Being already an evidence before the court (on oath), the formality of certification for admissibility (if it required certification) had been dispensed with.

 The reasons for this are that first affidavit evidence is already an admitted evidence before the court, unlike pleading which must be converted to evidence at the trial at which tine issues of admissibility of an exhibit is decided.

The second is that an exhibited copy of a document attached to an affidavit evidence must necessarily be a photocopy or secondary copy (except where the document was executed in several parts or counter parts and the deponent has many of the parts to exhibit in original forms).

It is therefore unthinkable to expect the exhibited photocopy to be certified by the adverse party before the court can attach probative value to it.
In the instant case, for the purpose of the application, exhibits W01, W02 and W03 are to be certified true copies, since the applicant was expected to photocopy the originals of those documents given to it by the issuing registry, as exhibited copies for its application.
The Applicant was not expected to have taken the documents (photocopies) to the issuing registry for certification before using the same for the application.

” See Ilorin East L.G. V. Alssinrin (unreported) Appeal No.CA/IL/38/201 of 20/2/2011; Magnusson V. Koiki (1993) 9 NWLR (Pt.317) 287); C.R.P.D. & Inv. Co. Ltd. V. Nzeogwu (1996) 1 NWLR (Pt.427) 713”. Per Mbaba JCA (Pp. 520-521, paras A-E)

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