RE: Supreme Court Upholds Saraki’s Appeal By Dr. Abiodun Osiyemi

The court of Appeal committed ” Judicial equivalent of Forensic Summersault

I must start by stating that, I am indeed very pleased with the the brilliant judgment of the Supreme Court Justices because in this criminal case , they again avoided miscarriage of justice based on inadmissible evidence that the prosecution team tendered!

In sharing my opinion, I shall asks some questions and subsequently provide answers for further clarification on this topic

The questions are:

1. what are the standards or reliable rules for any evidence to be admissible?

2. Can heresay or direct evidence substitute for physical or forensic evidence?

3. What level of competence have the prosecutors demonstrated with regards to this high profile case requiring forensic evidence?

4. What are the roles of a forensic expert witness and probative evidence?

Answers

1. The are various rules for admissibility of evidence that the forensic expert witness must be acquainted with in different countries e.g.

A. The Frye Standard (1923 USA)
B. Federal Rule of Evidence 702 (USA)
C. The Duabert Standard (1993 USA)
D. Evidence Act 2011( Nigeria)

2. Heresay is not the same and cannot substitute for physical or Forensic Evidence .
Forensic Science involves the application of science and technology to resolve legal cases in the law courts.
An understanding of these rules of admissibility of evidence would have enabled the prosecutors in the preparation of this particular case.

The forensic evidence must also be of probative value i.e where a blood specimen is provided as that of a murdered individual, the DNA analysis of the specimen must be Human and Not Bovine (Horse) or porcine (pig)

3. The prosecutors have demonstrated competencies below that expected of forensic experts.
The expert witness must have the following following qualities and usually belong to a professional association or society.

A. Knowledge
B. Education
C. Training
D. Skills
E. Experience

4 . The roles of the Forensic Expert witness is to provide evidence that is
A. Reliable
B. Unbiased
C. Objective

Probative evidence must have relevance to the case

The challenges and the future

1. There is a dearth of Forensic experts amongst the prosecutors. The need to build capacity is a MUST!

2. Urgent and Mandatory Forensic Education for the Judicial and Legal System is very important

3. Proper accreditation and credential verification of experts. A directory for public confirmation must be established.

I am willing to provide clarification on any of the above explanation. Again Commend the Justices of the Supreme Court on the judgment.

Dr Abiodun OSIYEMI
BSc, MBBS, MSc, MBA, MSc (Forensic Science) PhD, ACSFS(UK)
President, Association of Forensic Sciences and Expert Witness

Opinion contained in this article is strictly the writer’s and not Aledeh’s.

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