Â By Seun AgboolaÂ
Appeal court sitting in Lagos, has adjourned for judgement the appeal filed by star actress and former beauty queen, Ibinabo Fiberesima challenging the judgement of a Lagos High Court
which sentenced her to five years imprisonment for causing the death of a Lagos Medical Doctor, Giwa Suraj.
The embattled former president of Actors Guild Of Nigeria (AGN) was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi for reckless driving which caused the death of one Dr. Giwa Suraj in an auto accident along Lekki-Epe expressway, Lagos State. The deceased was a staff of one of Lagos stateâ€™s hospitals.
At the hearing of the appeal today the appellate court presided over by Justice U.I. Ndukwe-Anyanwu (Mrs.) adjourned for judgement in the appeal after counsel adopted their written addresses. The court also directed that the appellant (Fiberesima) who was not in court to appear in court when judgement is to be delivered adding that the date will be communicated to the parties.
Fiberesima had earlier been fined a N100, 000 by an Igbosere Chief Magistrate Mr. O.A. Isaacs but the then Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner of justice, Olasupo Sasore (SAN), felt unsatisfied with the judgement and appealed. This prompted the state government to take its case to the Lagos High Court.
At the Lagos high court, Justice Oluwayemi set aside the option of fine imposed by the Magistrateâ€™s Court and sentenced Fiberesima to five years imprisonment for dangerous and reckless driving. In her judgment, Justice Oluwayemi held that the trial Magistrate exercised judicial recklessness when he gave the convict an option of fine.
The court held that the option of N100, 000 given to the convict did not serve the purpose of justice in the matter and subsequently ordered that the N100, 000 should be returned back to Ibinabo Fiberesima. The court noted that the trial Magistrate must have misdirected himself based on the plea of leniency made by the counsel to the convict that she is a working mother.
Justice Oluwayemi held that Sections 28 of the Traffic Law on which the accused person was convicted does not give an option of fine stressing that when term of imprisonment is mandatory the court cannot and should not give an option of fine.