Resting the accused person’s case on the prosecution’s case means that the accused person accepts the prosecution’s case completely and would not testify or call evidence in his defence.
Where a defence rests his case on that of the plaintiff, he is, in effect submitting that the plaintiff has failed to make out a prima facie case and elects, in consequence, not to call evidence in support of his own case. In that circumstance, the defendant is bound by the evidence called in support of the plaintiff’s case, and the case must be dealt with on the evidence as it stands.
Also, where the defence rests its case on that of the plaintiff’s, the defence cannot be allowed by the trial court where the defence of no-case submission is overruled to return to the status quo ante before the submission of no-case submission with the right to call evidence in defence of the claim as the defence has foreclosed that right.
This is as against where, although the defence has raised a no-case to answer it does not rest its case on that of the plaintiff. In the latter situation, where the submission of no-case submission is overruled, the defence still has the choice of giving evidence in the substantive matter.
Thus, the difference between where the defence is resting or not resting on the case of the plaintiff is very material.
The court considers the case on the evidence of the plaintiff’s case alone where the defence rests its case on the plaintiff’s. Whereas, where the defence is not relying on it and it testifies after having been overruled if it so wishes, the court in the latter situation has to examine the case on the totality of the evidence from both sides of the divide, that is, where the defence eventually leads evidence.
See, Mezu v. C.C.B (Nig.) Plc (2013) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1340) 188 SC.
LEGAL TIPS is anchored by Ms CIA Ofoegbunam, an Abuja-based lawyer who is passionate about legal practice.LEGAL TIPS offers quick hints on substantive law, as well as rules of practice and procedure, and serves as a handy reference guide to lawyers, especially in court.Published on a weekly basis, the LEGAL TIPS Series is CIA’s modest contribution to legal development in Nigeria