Can Accused Person Be Convicted Solely On Confessional Statement Made By Him?

Can Accused Person Be Convicted Solely On Confessional Statement Made By Him?

Can Accused Person Be Convicted Solely On Confessional Statement Made By Him?

By Raji Usman Amao


Confessions play a crucial role in criminal investigations and trials. They are often considered powerful evidence that can lead to the conviction of an accused person. However, the question arises as to whether an individual can be convicted solely based on their own confessional statement.
This particular question has generated a lots of divergent views (legal). Many people are of the view that whether confessional statement obtained from the accused person can substantiate the matter before Court while others contended that it was wrong for lower court to place heavy reliance on the conflicting evidence provided by the witness and the accused person before the court.
The intents of this writer is to examine whether the accused person can be convicted solely on the confessional statement.

Legally , the word ‘confession’ means an admission of an offense by an accused person or acknowledgement of a crime by an accused person. According to Section 28 of the Evidence Act 2011 Confession “an admission made at any time by a person charged with crime stating or suggesting the inference that he committed the crime”.
Also, Confessional statement represents the beliefs of a particular group or denomination, not the entire polity. In the case of FATILEWA V THE STATE (2008) LPELR-SC 118/2007 held thus: ” A confessional statement proof of an act when it is true, positive and direct. A voluntary statement stating or suggesting the inference that accused person committed an offense for which he is charged with is relevant and admissible against provided that the statement was not made as a result of any threat, inducement or promise from a person in authority. The voluntariness of the statement made by accused is sufficient enough as a evidence that he committed the said offense, it was also given a judicial blessing in the case of IKEMPSON V THE STATE.

It is a settled law that accused person can be convicted solely on the confessional statement save for the exception that the confessional statement is not obtain through duress, inducement or threat from the IPO in charge to investigate what has transpired in the commission of the crime can render it inadmissible.

The bone of contention lies there in whether the court can use confessional statement tender by the accused before the court, this has been discussed and given judicial blessing in plethora cases. In law generally, irrespective of the nature of the matter whether civil or criminal, the reason why we present evidence is to provide the information that can prove what he said in court and assists in whether or not you are guilty of the crime you are charged with.

For a conviction to be able to sustain a conviction, it must be voluntary, positive, direct, categorical, unequivocal and properly proved. Those ingredients are allegedly absent in this case. See GINA VS. STATE (1996) 37 LRCN 688; NWOCHUKWU VS. STATE (2002) 102 LRCN 2110. Further submitted, that there is a mysterious gaps and loopholes in the alleged confessions of the Appellant are sufficient to cast serious doubts on the voluntary nature of the confessional statements. See ALARAPE VS. STATE (supra). And if the accused person at his own volition say that the statement made by him is voluntary and free, the prosecution need not to waste time to start proving to court that the accused committed the offence.

In the case of ANTHONY OMORUYI V STATE (2014) LPELR-CA/B/245C/2011 provides that, invariably the appropriate procedure to be adopted by the trial court to determine the admissibility or otherwise of the confessional statement of the accused person entirely depends upon the nature of the objection raised by the defence. Where the accused person denied ever making or signing the confessional statement (as in the instant case), the confession is still admissible in evidence against the accused person. However, in the circumstances, the trial court must at the conclusion of the trial determine the veracity and probative value of the said confession, and this principle of law was authoritatively reiterated by the Supreme Court in a plethora of authorities including the case of IKPASA V THE STATE.
I further move on to the case of IDOWU V THE STATE where the Court in his judicial reiterated that: that a free and voluntary confession made by an accused person, if it is direct and positive is sufficiently enough to substantiate his conviction.

It is the humble view of this writer to assert that confession made without threat, compulsion,oppression thereupon according to Section 29 of the Evidence Act 2011 will be admissible before the court.
Verily, the court itself need not to embark on voyage on the authentication of whether the confessional statement made satisfied the process of law.


This work is published under the free legal awareness project of Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( The writer was not paid or charged any publishing fee. You too can support the legal awareness projects and programs of Sabi Law Foundation by donating to us. Donate here and get our unique appreciation certificate or memento.


This publication is not a piece of legal advice. The opinion expressed in this publication is that of the author(s) and not necessarily the opinion of our organisation, staff and partners.


???? Take short courses, get samples/precedents and learn your rights at

???? Publish your legal articles for FREE by sending to:

???? Receive our free Daily Law Tips & other publications via our website and social media accounts or join our free whatsapp group: Daily Law Tips Group 6


Get updates on all the free legal awareness projects of Sabi Law (#SabiLaw) and its partners, via:

YouTube: SabiLaw

Twitter: @Sabi_Law

Facebook page: SabiLaw

Instagram: @SabiLaw.org_

WhatsApp Group: Free Daily Law Tips Group 6

Telegram Group: Free Daily Law Tips Group

Facebook group: SabiLaw




This publication is the initiative of the Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( Sabi Law Foundation is a Not-For-Profit and Non-Governmental Legal Awareness Organization based in Nigeria. It is the first of its kind and has been promoting free legal awareness since 2010.


As a registered not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation, Sabi Law Foundation relies on donations and sponsorships to promote free legal awareness across Nigeria and the world. With a vast followership across the globe, your donations will assist us to increase legal awareness, improve access to justice, reduce common legal disputes and crimes in Nigeria. Make your donations to us here  or contact us for sponsorship and partnership, via: or +234 903 913 1200.


Leave a Reply

Related Posts

You cannot copy content of this page

Please subscribe

Contact Support


Welcome! Log into your account