‘Forensic Advocacy Necessary for Election Litigation’

‘Forensic Advocacy Necessary for Election Litigation’

Law professor, Dr. Benjamin Danpullo, has identified the need for some aspects of forensic science in the nation’s legal training curriculum.

At the School of Law seminar on March 8 where he discussed Forensic Advocacy and Election Litigation, Dr. Danpullo held that forensic science helped in the development of the law in several jurisdictions across the world.

In those jurisdictions, he went on, “simple things like fingerprints, DNA test, handwriting, and signature analysis have been useful in the proof of crimes and civil liability.”

He defined ‘forensic advocacy’ as the act of channeling the energies and resources of forensic experts by a legal practitioner in the proof of their case before a court.

“The legal practitioner, through forensic advocacy, is able to decipher what manner of forensic evidence is needed to prove a fact and issue in civil proceedings.

He said forensic advocacy is different from merely presenting a forensic report before a court.

“A forensic advocate must master the art of cross-examining an expert in the field to be able to generate the evidence required to give strength to their case.”

He said advocacy had taken a key place in post-election litigations in Nigeria.

“The reason is that section 138 of the Electoral Act, which provides the ground for nullification of an election, for the purpose of litigating the reasons why an election should be nullified that forensic advocacy, could come into play.”

At the presentation, he gave instances where one could be required to deploy forensic advocacy, particularly for multiple thumb printing and swapping of genuine ballot papers with the fake.

He referred to the presidential election petition filed by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) as regards the 2019 polls. He said they would need to deploy a lot of forensic science in the investigation of the election materials.

“Does our justice system have the capacity to embrace the deployment of forensic science and do our lawyers have the capacity to deploy forensic advocacy in marshaling out the facts that they would be presenting before the court?”

These are the questions he asked the audience that comprised of members from the university community some of whom gave their comments and asked questions.

Assistant Professor in the School of Law, Dr. David Adetoro, described the presentation as very insightful.

 

Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa