For Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi, SAN, FCIA Arb. (UK).
Globally, science is expanding at an ever-increasing rate and improving on all frontiers. With virtually every field of study taking advantage of scientific advances for huge profits, the legal industry is certainly not far behind. Currently, in the search for justice, the judicial system of various jurisdictions takes advantage of the development of forensic science to collect evidence that proves the guilt or not of an accused person.
Forensic science is a multidisciplinary subject used to investigate crime scenes and collect evidence to be used in the prosecution of criminals in a court of law. Forensic evidence refers to evidence obtained by scientific methods such as, but not limited to, ballistics, blood tests, and DNA testing. As a scientific discipline, it is largely concerned with proving criminal offences. It starts at the crime scene and ends in the courtroom.
Forensic science is an integrative subject. It combines various strands of learning used to investigate crime scenes and collect evidence to be used at trial for the prosecution of offenders in a court of law. Branches such as ballistics, dactyloscopic, handwritten, toxicological, etc., are combined for efficiency in criminal proceedings. Forensic scientists examine objects, substances (including blood or drug samples), chemicals (paints, explosives, toxins), tissue traces (hair, skin), or impressions (fingerprints or tide marks) left on the place of criminal acts.
In law, forensic science is invaluable in the pursuit of justice. This is because the proof of crimes is a very delicate transaction that has as its center the innocence or guilt of an accused person. The law recognizes the importance of forensic evidence in the prosecution of criminal cases. When scientific methods are used rigorously, without bias or prejudice, they can provide convincing evidence to discover and prove crime.
The vital role that forensic science plays in the criminal justice system cannot be overstated. It provides precise information of mathematical accuracy through the analysis of physical evidence, and the identity of the culprit through personal clues such as fingerprints, footprints, drops of blood or hair. It links the criminal to the crime through objects left by him at the scene and with the victim or taken from the scene and the victim. On the other hand, if the recovered clues do not link the defendant to the victim or the crime scene, the defendant’s innocence is established.
As with all evidence intended to be presented in court, the use of forensic evidence in courtrooms is guided and limited by the rules on evidence contained in the Evidence Act 2011. The admissibility of forensic evidence is based on the relevance of such evidence to the matter before the Court. However, it should be noted that the Evidence Act does not contain any specific provision for forensic science. In fact, at the time of writing this report, there is no law in the country that specifically regulates the application and enforcement of forensic sciences..
In other jurisdictions, such as the United States of America, South Africa, Canada, and Australia, there are specific laws that cover forensic science. These laws have been enacted to improve the forensic state so that crime can be accurately detected and justice served.
Furthermore, Lagos State is to be commended, although recently, the state chamber passed a bill establishing the Lagos State Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Forensic Center to support criminal investigations, law enforcement and preservation of evidence for the judicial system. , and for other related purposes. Part of the center’s goals include providing for the use and regulation of DNA-based technology in Lagos State for profiling or analysis.
Aside from Lagos State, it would seem that despite the many benefits that can be gained from the use of forensic evidence, Nigeria generally has a somewhat passive approach towards absorbing this science. This is because there are a limited number of forensic laboratories in the country, which many believe are not well equipped or adequately staffed. Furthermore, the use of science by law enforcement at crime scenes. More timely and quality crime scene management should be emphasized because the country has many situations where crime scenes are not properly sealed and the public is prohibited from entering. It almost feels like there’s an overreliance on eyewitness accounts and the like. despite the existence of much improved science. Undeniably, forensic evidence is more reliable than visual evidence..
Additionally, our judicial system would benefit greatly if our criminal investigation departments were more embracing of forensics. Advanced technology has given the world a useful and accurate tool for criminal investigation purposes. In criminal jurisprudence it is often said that: “it is better for one criminal to walk free than ninety-nine innocents to go to prison”. At present forensic science, for the sake of this idea, plays a vital role in crime and detecting criminals with much more accuracy. Forensic science as scientific evidence is a benefit to the criminal justice system.
In light of the overwhelming reason why forensic science should be adopted, it would be recommended that Nigerian legal agencies be properly trained on the importance of forensic science for crime investigation. In addition, the legislature should be proactive in lawmaking, developing forensic science-specific legislation that serves as a standard for, among other things, the interpretation of results and guides expert reporting.
In law, forensic science is invaluable in the pursuit of justice. This is because the proof of crimes is a very delicate transaction, having at its center the innocence or guilt of an accused person. The law recognizes the importance of forensic evidence in the prosecution of criminal cases. When scientific methods are used rigorously, without bias or prejudice, they can provide convincing evidence to discover and prove crime.
Key Terms: Forensic Science, Legal Forensic Science, Forensic Evidence
Mr. Oyetola Muyiwa Atoyebi, SAN is the Managing Partner of OM Atoyebi, SAN & Partners (OMAPLEX Law Firm).
Mr. Atoyebi has vast knowledge and experience in the litigation practice and this has led him to advise and represent his vast clientele in a myriad of high-profile transactions. He has the honor of being the youngest lawyer in Nigerian history to receive the rank of Senior Counsel of Nigeria.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
TAXPAYER: jamilu samaila
Jamilu is a member of the corporate team of the OMAPLEX law firm. She also possesses commendable legal experience in the litigation practice. He can be reached at email@example.com
 https://www.lawaudience.com/a-review-of-the-forensic-science-evidence-admissibility-for-handling-criminal-prosecution-in-nigeria/#:~:text=In%20a%20country% 20such as%20Nigeria,in%20criminal%20or%20general%20law.
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