Legal/Judiciary

Alleged justice perversion: SAN’s conviction, sentencing upturned

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

The conviction and 30 days sentencing of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr Joseph Nwobike was on Monday set aside by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged the SAN with an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

But in a unanimous decision of the Apex Court today, a five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, faulted the earlier decisions of the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal, Lagos, and proceeded to uphold Nwobike’s appeal.

The Supreme Court amongst others declared that the High Court of Lagos was wrong in convicting Nwobike on the offence, while the Court of Appeal erred in upholding his conviction and sentencing on the offence of attempt to pervert the course of justice.

According to the Apex Court, Section 97(c) of Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Lagos State, under which the SAN was charged, did not clearly define what constitutes a perversion of justice.

The Supreme Court further held that the EFCC lacks the power to investigate and prosecute the offence of perversion of the course of justice.

It is recalled that the anti-graft agency through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo amongst others, accused him of exchanging SMS with a court’s Registrar on the assignment of his cases and when such cases should be heard.

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