Admissibility of evidence in court

The concept of admissibility of evidence in court relates to the relevance and usefulness of such evidence in helping the bench establish the truth of the matter. Rule 401 defines the relevant evidence as such evidence that would make the existence of any fact related to the determination of the action more or less probable than it would be without such evidence.

It is a general rule that is relevant evidence is admissible except as provided otherwise by the constitution while irrelevant evidence is considered to b e inadmissible1 The test therefore to be applied in determining relevancy is therefore the examination of whether such evidence helps to prove hat fro which is is offered. Evidence is thus logically relevant if it makes the facts of consequence more or less likely2.

However evidence that is logically relevant may be excluded if its probate value is outweighed by the likely existence of unfair prejudice, confusion of issues; mislead to the bench; or in instances where it causes undue delay and waste of time by constituency of needless presentation of cumulative evidence3. In attempting to provide answers to the foregoing questions, reference shall be made by examining logical relevance in relation to opinion evidence cum expert evidence.

It is imperative to note that the definition of relevant evidence as promulgated with rule 401 is to the effect that such evidence may have any tendency to make a fact more or less likely. The examination of the words ‘any tendency’ is in view meaning any slight effect even if it does not prove the fact conclusively or clearly beyond reasonable doubt, Opinion evidence to alter the facts of a case a slight tendency to alter the facts of a case. The next section examines opinion evidence as both admissible and/or inadmissible evidence.