“Not All Official Documents Are Public Documents” – Hon. Justice Ezekiel Ashade says at Faculty of Law Annual Lecture, LASU.
Judge, High Court of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Ezekiel Oluwole Ashade while delivering his lecture title *Admissibility of a Public Document: Need for Clarity of Approach by Nigerian Courts*, affirmed that not all official documents are public documents.
Hon. Justice Ashade made this known at the 2022 edition of the Faculty of Law Annual Lecture Series themed *“Current Issues in the Law of Evidence”* which was held on Friday, 27th January 2023 at Aderemi Makanjuola Lecture Theatre, Main Campus, Ojo, Lagos.
Speaking at the Lecture, Hon. Justice Ashade, stated that “…for a document to be classified as a public document, it must be brought into existence and preserved for public use on a public matter and must be open for public inspection”. He added that a letter written to a private person is not a public document while a copy of a letter written by a private person to a public body or institution is a public document.
Hon. Justice Ashade added that every public document must be classified as a Certified True Copy (CTC), for it to be admissible in Court and the essence of CTC is to ascertain the integrity and genuineness of a document.
At the end of his lecture, he made recommendations to enhance the clarity of the Court’s approach to the admissibility of public documents.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, mni, ably represented by Prof. Femi Obayori, appreciated the Dean and Planning Committee for putting the event together and stated that the lecture is coming at an auspicious moment for a Country like Nigeria because for the first time, electoral results will be transmitted electronically and it is imperative for all to know how to respond to issues arising.
The Vice Chancellor also implored everyone to obey laws and pay rapt attention to the lectures.
The Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. Gbadebo Olagunju, in his welcome address averred that “…the essence of the Faculty Annual Lecture Series is to keep abreast of issues that are current in law and are out of the textbooks as well as daily things that are needed as practitioners either on the bench or at the bar.” he said.
Prof. Mike Ikhariale, while delivering his keynote address, noted that there are three critical functions of a citadel of learning which includes; systematic inculcation of legal knowledge in students through teaching and mentoring; constantly pushing the frontiers of knowledge through diligence in service and their dissemination through the publication of books, journals and monographs; celebration of knowledge through public ceremonies such as public lectures, seminars and conferences.
The second speaker, Hon. Magistrate Lateef Kayode J. Layeni while delivering his lecture on *Electronic/Computer-Generated Evidence in Nigeria, Authenticity and Admissibility in Issue* stated thus “…evidence is the means by which facts are proved excluding inferences and arguments”. He added that the statutory definition of a document under the Evidence Act is not merely restricted to ordinary papers but also includes books, plans and photographs.
Speaking further, Hon. Magistrate Layeni, noted that points can be proved in Court through the use of electronic generated documents which are believed to be in line with relevant sections of the Evidence Act and stated the conditions that have to be fulfilled to render electronically generated evidence admissible in Court.
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The highlight of the lecture was the presentation of award plaques to the Guest Speakers and Alumni of the University, Hon. Justice E. O. Ashade and Hon. Magistrate L.K.J. Layeni for their immeasurable contributions to the academic development of the Faculty of Law.
The Chairman, Planning Committee, Prof. F.A.R. Adeleke, gave the vote of thanks.