RELEVANCY AND ADMISSIBILITY
A fact is defined in S. 258 EA to include anything, state of things or relation of things capable of being perceived by the senses and any mental condition of which any person is conscious. Please note that things of the metaphysical world can’t be regarded as facts.
A fact in issue refers to facts which would help the court in determining the rights and liabilities of the parties appearing before it. They are facts upon which the court would predicate its judgement. These facts usually revolve around the ingredients of the offense or tort complained of. In defamation for example, the court would find out if the words are capable of demeaning any person in the eyes of reasonable persons and whether there was communication to a third party. In stealing, the courts would consider whether the accused took the property with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of the use and possession of that thing.
Relevant facts are facts which are so connected with the fact in issue as to render it probable or improbable. Please note that they need not be the facts in issue. On the other hand, Admissible facts are facts which the court finds useful and which can’t be objected to on any ground (definition coined from google). Admissible facts are essentially a matter of law and are to be determined by the provisions of the Evidence Act or any other statute in force. While relevant facts are a matter of common sense, logic and experience, admissible facts are a matter of law.
The first task of the court is to determine whether the facts are relevant and admissible. This is line with S. 1 Evidence Act which provides that it is only relevant and admissible facts that the court must take into consideration. But the point must be stated that it is not all relevant facts that are admissible. Thus, before facts can be admissible they must have passed the relevancy test. In short, we can say that while all admissible facts are relevant, it’s not all relevant facts that are admissible.
There are various grounds a relevant fact may be denied admissibility: 1. Inconsistency with any extant law 2. Public interest 3. Social policy: a solicitor-client conversation should not be admissible even if relevant 4. Remoteness. In short, relevancy and admissibility are the guiding principles for the court to decide whether or not to accept or reject a fact.