A Lagos-based lawyer, Monday Ubani, says it will be difficult for the Supreme Court to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT).
He was reacting to the case initiated in the United States by the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in which he requested the release of President Bola Tinubu’s certificate from the Chicago State University (CSU).
In the petition filed at the apex court, Atiku claimed that the Diploma Certificate submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the President may not be authentic.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Ubani said it would be very rare for the Supreme Court to admit fresh evidence, especially if the evidence was available while initiating the process.
Ubani added that the apex court will never admit fresh evidence because their job is to review the decision of the court below and not to now evaluate any evidence.
The senior lawyer said it would take a lot from Atiku’s legal team to convince the Supreme Court to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the election tribunal judgment, adding that the move will be challenged by Tinubu’s team.
According to Ubani, the Supreme Court may be left to use its discretionary power to decide whether or not to admit fresh evidence in the case.
He said: “Looking at the facts surrounding it, the issue of admissibility of fresh evidence by the appellate court is very rare, especially if that evidence was available to you while you were initiating the process.
“The Supreme Court will never, even the Court of Appeal, admit fresh evidence because their job is to review the decision of the court below and not to now evaluate any evidence.
“They don’t take any evidence, but there are special circumstances under which fresh evidence can be admitted by the appellate court, and that ground is maybe by the time you file the case, that evidence was not available.
“The issue of admissibility of fresh evidence is very critical, you must convince, and whoever is bringing it will be opposed by the other party. So, the court now exercises what is called discretionary power in either admitting or not allowing that fresh evidence to come in.”
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