Abolishing Res Gestae: An Analysis of Facts Admissible Under Section 4 of Evidence Act 2011

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Department of Private and Public Law, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Universty, Igbariam Campus


This paper analysed, in the Nigerian context, the English doctrine of Res gestae. It examined in material details, the distinctions between the provisions of the repealed and the new Evidence Acts with respect to admissibility of the doctrine in Nigeria. It is found that the extant Act accommodates reception, only of evidence admissible by virtue of legislations validly in force in Nigeria as opposed to the erstwhile Act which allowed facts admissible by other rules, including the received English Common Law. It is argued that the new Act has signaled the ‘Demise’ of or an end to continuing admissibility of the doctrine in Nigeria. It is submitted that, the doctrine is no longer; even indirectly, part of the corpus of Nigerian law, and as a final point it is established that though certain court decisions would be differently decided today, the abolishment of the doctrine is one of no significant consequence given that the new Act makes admissible, relevant facts, even if occurred ‘at different times and places’, the doctrine therefore merely ‘gave up its the ghost’ as res gestae but reincarnated in a superlative form as facts admissible under section 4 of the Evidence Act 2011.



Res gestae, Common law, Relevancy, Relevant Facts, Admissibility, Evidence Act, Nigeria.