Appeal Court Upholds 5-year Sentence For Fiberesima Over Manslaughter

Embattled President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Ibinabo Fiberesima, broke down in tears on Friday as the Court of Appeal in Lagos on Friday dismissed her appeal challenging a jail term slammed on her by a Lagos High Court.

Ibinabo Fiberesima
Ibinabo Fiberesima

The former beauty queen was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of a Lagos High Court for manslaughter occasioned by reckless driving, which resulted in the death of one Dr Giwa Siraj.

Ibinabo Fiberesima
Ibinabo Fiberesima

She was alleged to have driven recklessly on the Lekki-Epe Expressway and knocked down Suraj.

The deceased was a staff at a Lagos State hospital.

A Magistrate court (court of first instance) had earlier given the appellant an option of N100,000 fine for the offence.

The judgment of the magistrate was, however, set aside by the High Court, which replaced the option of fine with a jail term.

Dissatisfied, Fiberesima had filed an appeal through her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, urging the court to set aside the five-year sentence.

Delivering judgment on Friday, the appellate court dismissed Fiberesima’s appeal and affirmed the decision of the Lagos High Court.

In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur, the court held that the trial Magistrate Court lacked the discretion to have granted Fiberesima an option of fine having been convicted.

The court further held that the appeal lacked merit and consequently dismissed it.

Other members of the panel are Justice U.I. Ndukwe-Anyanwu (presiding) and Justice Tijani Abubakar.

It will be recalled that the appellate court had earlier ordered the appellant to appear before it when judgement was to be delivered.

Amaechina said the judgment will be challenged at the Supreme Court, adding that a notice of appeal had already been filed.

Justice Oluwayemi of the trial court had held that the magistrate exercised “judicial recklessness” when he gave the convict an option of fine.

The court noted that the trial Magistrate must have misdirected himself based on the allocutus made by the counsel to the convict that she is a working mother.

Oluwayemi had held that Sections 28 of the Traffic Law, under which the accused was convicted, did not give an option of fine.

She held: “When a term of imprisonment is mandatory for an offence, the court cannot and should not give an option of fine.”

She insisted that the fine did not serve the purpose of justice in the case and subsequently ordered that the N100,000 be returned to the appellant.


Send your news stories to Follow News Ghana on Google News


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here