Saheed Afeez Ayinde
EVIDENCE OF A BLOOD RELATION
The operation of the court in attaching weight to evidences given by parties witnesses in a case always vary and would remain so, as long as facts/subject matter of cases are not the same.
The court in this case,had stressed the effect of evidence of a witness who is a blood relation of the party who called him.
“The trial court reviewed the evidence called by the parties and observed that all the witnesses called by the defendants came from the same family with them while those of the plaintiff came from different families.
The Court doubted the credibility of the defendants’ claims as well as the evidence called since they did not call independent witnesses to testify in proof of their claims. In the same vein the court accepted the evidence called by the plaintiffs and entered judgment in their favour.
The evidence of a boundary neighbour and customary tenant who are not related to the claimant is certainly weightier than that of witnesses who are blood relations of the claimant since the latter would merely be protecting their interest in the disputed property. In this regard the evidence of PW1 is against interest which carries the greatest weight and will go in favour of the plaintiff. See: Chief Falade Onisaodu & Anor. v. Chief Asunmo Elewuji & Anor. (2006) 13 NWLR (Part 998) 517
The Customary Court was therefore right to place more weight on the evidence given by the plaintiff’s witnesses. The High court on appeal was also right to state that “much as the defendants’ witnesses are not disqualified from testifying for the defendants on ground of their being related to them, the fact that a witness is a blood relation of the party who called him can make the evidence of such a witness less pungent”. Per AKA’AHS, J.S.C
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