April 22, 2024

Court rejects exhibit in trial of man alleged to forge JAMB, UNIUYO admission letters

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Court rejects exhibit in trial of man alleged to forge JAMB, UNIUYO admission letters

Harrison Essien, Uyo

The Magistrate’s Court of Akwa Ibom State sitting in Uyo, has rejected the admission status page of the University of Uyo sought to be tendered by the police as an exhibit in the trial of one Wisdom Sunday Peter for allegedly forging JAMB admission letter to study Law at the University of Uyo.

The rejection of the document came after the 32-year-old Wisdom Sunday Peter was arraigned on five counts bordering on forgery of JAMB admission letter, University of Uyo Notification of Admission Status into First Degree Programme, University of Uyo E-payment Receipt, as well as the University of Uyo List of Admitted Candidates and their respective access codes for 2020/2021 year.

The Police Prosecutor, Barrister John Okon had sought to tender the Admission Status Page from the University of Uyo website as an exhibit, which the Defence Counsel, Obong E. Obot, Esquire vehemently opposed on the ground that it was a public document and failure to certify it as required by law renders the document inadmissible.

In his reply, the Prosecution Counsel submitted that the document was a Computer-Generated Evidence and that the Head of ICT Unit of the University of Uyo, who is the Second Prosecution Witness, had narrated how he generated the document in line with the provisions of Section 84 of Evidence Act 2011.

He urged the court to discountenance the objection in the interest of justice, as the case would have been different, if the document was in a hard copy form.

But in his rejoinder on point of law, the defence counsel urged the court to mark the document rejected, arguing that it was immaterial whether the document is a hard copy or not, and that Section 84 of the Evidence Act cited by the Police Prosecution does not dispense with the requirement of Section 104 of the Evidence Act for certification of public documents.

In its ruling, the court presided over by Magistrate Sam Ukoima held that it is only a Certified True Copy of a public document that is admissible in law.

The court agreed with the arguments of the prosecution counsel that Section 84 of the Evidence Act has been complied with regarding how the admission status page was generated, but said the section of the law does not override or derogate the clear provision of Section 104 regarding certification of public documents.

Magistrate Ukoima was also of the view that Section 84 of the Evidence Act is an additional requirement to secure the authenticity of public document that is electronically generated.

The court ruled that the admission status page, being a public document from the University of Uyo, having not been certified as required by Law, is inadmissible as an exhibit.

Consequently, the court marked the admission status page rejected and adjourned the case to Thursday, 16th March, 2023 for continuation of evidence and cross examination of the Head of ICT Unit of the University of Uyo, the second prosecution witness.

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