Friday, March 11, 2016 7:13 pm
By Funsho Arogundade
Nollywood actress and former president, Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN will be exploring the Supreme Court to upturn her five-year jail term in the lingering case of reckless driving, that caused the death of a Lagos state government doctor, Suraj Giwa in 2005.
Her lawyer announced the move today after she lost her appeal at the Court of Appeal in Igbosere, Lagos.
Barrister Nnaemeka Amaechina said that the judgment would be challenged at the Supreme Court adding that a Notice of Appeal has already been filed.
Ibinabo had challenged the judgement of a Lagos High Court which sentenced her to five years imprisonment for the death of Dr. Giwa.
The appellate court presided over by Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur dismissed her appeal seeking to upheld the option of fine which a lower court had given, but which was challenged by the Lagos State government.
An Igbosere Magistrates’ Court had sentenced Ibinabo to a five year imprisonment with an option of N100,000 fine for reckless driving which caused the death of Dr. Giwa, a staff of a Lagos State Hospital, in an auto accident along the Lekki-Epe expressway, Lagos in 2005.
She paid the fine and was to be left off the hook when the then Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Supo Sasore (SAN), felt unsatisfied with the judgement.
This prompted the state government to take its case to the Lagos High Court.
At the Lagos High court, Justice Deborah Oluwayemi set aside the option of fine imposed by the Magistrates’ Court.
In her judgement, Justice Oluwayemi held that the trial Magistrate exercised judicial recklessness when he gave the convict an option of fine.
She stated that the option of N100, 000 given to the convict did not serve the purpose of justice in the matter and subsequently ordered a refund of N100, 000 to Ibinabo and sentenced her to five years imprisonment for dangerous and reckless driving.
The former beauty queen then approached the appellate court to uphold the earlier option of fine by the magistrate court which she had paid but returned to her.
She had prayed her appeal will be heard on humanitarian grounds.
In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Tukur, the court held that the trial Magistrate Court lacked the discretion to grant Ibinabo an option of fine after her conviction.
It held further that the appeal lacked merit and thereby dismissed it accordingly.
Other members of the Appeal court panel are Justice U.I. Ndukwe-Anyanwu (Mrs.) and Justice Tijani Abubakar.
Ibinabo burst into tears after the judgment was delivered.