Alibi Meaning and Duties of the Defendant and Prosecution in Alibi

This piece is going to provide you with all that you needs to know about the Alibi meaning.

Alibi Meaning

Conventionally, after the apprehension of the suspect, the law enforcement agencies that accosted the suspect shall be expected to embark on some pretrial investigations to elicit some evidence that shall enable them to secure the conviction of the Defendant. Meanwhile, we shall specifically be writing about the police as one of the law enforcement agencies in this particular piece.

So after the arrest of the suspect, some evidential matters shall be considered by the police at this point. One of which is the plea of Alibi. The police have to check whether the Accused pleaded that he was not at the crime scene when the crime was committed. The police usually affect arrests based on the complaint brought to them at the station and or based on the one they see with their eyes. So, the plea of alibi may most definitely be raised by the Defendant if he was arrested for the commission of a crime based on the complainant that was laid at the police station. However, if he was caught by the police at the spot where he was committing the crime, there would be no need for raising or investigating the plea of Alibi.

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The Plea of Alibi can be raised by a suspect (Defendant) who was not present at the scene of the crime when the alleged crime was said to be committed.

Alibi is a Latin word which grows from a combination of two words: “alius” and “ibi” or “ubi” meaning “other” and “there” or “where” respectively. In English words, it means “Elsewhere”. In Azeez v. State, Alibi was defined to mean “that the Accused was somewhere other than where the prosecution says he was at the time of the commission of the offence making it impossible for him to have committed or participated in the commission of the offence with which he is charged”.

It should be worthy of note that Defendant shall only be able to raise this defence of plea of alibi when he was not at the scene of the crime when the alleged crime was said to have been committed. If he was present, whether he is guilty or not, the plea of alibi will not exonerate him.

Meanwhile, the plea of an alibi is targeted towards reducing the workload of the police. It is the law that once the plea is raised that the police have to investigate it and know where the Defendant was as at the time the crime was committed. If he was not at the scene of the crime, there would be no need to prosecute him for a crime that he’s innocent of.

 Duty on Defendant to properly raise the plea of Alibi

It is incumbent on Defendant to raise the plea of alibi promptly and properly. He shall be expected to raise the plea at the earliest possible time after he was apprehended for the commission of a crime. It’s the law that the defendant should inform the police of this plea, he should raise his plea of alibi at the police station while writing his statement, so that the police can investigate it.

While raising it properly, he must give particulars of where he was at the time the crime was committed. According to Agaba in his text on Criminal Litigation, he stated that the defence of alibi is said to be properly and duly raised only when the defendant not only states that he was not at the scene of the crime but somewhere else but also goes further to satisfy the evidential burden on him by giving particulars of the other place which he claims to be at the time the offence was committed. Thos. He must do this by naming the exact place he was, the persons he was with and who could testify that he was with there at the time.

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It is the law that the burden to disprove the plea of alibi is usually on the prosecution but this shall only be possible when the defendant has discharged his evidential or secondary burden in asserting the particulars of the place he was and who he was there. It shall be paramount to note that the plea must be raised at the earliest opportunity when the defendant was confronted with the commission of the crime so that the police can investigate or check the plea.

Duty on Prosecution when Alibi is raised

The burden lies on the prosecution to disprove the plea of alibi when promptly and properly raised by the Defendant. Once the Defendant would be able to raise that he was not at the scene of the crime as at the time the said crime was committed, it will incumbent on the prosecution to disprove such defence and pin the Defendant to the scene of the crime as at the time the crime was committed.

In doing this the prosecution shall be required to produce cogent evidence to convince the court that the accused person was at the scene of the crime and committed the crime. Once the prosecution can do this, the defence of alibi crumbles as it necessarily means that the accused could not have been anywhere else.

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