Home Courts BREAKING: Supreme Court sets aside senior lawyer, Joseph Nwobike’s conviction

BREAKING: Supreme Court sets aside senior lawyer, Joseph Nwobike’s conviction

Joseph Nwobike, a senior attorney charged with an attempt to pervert justice, has had his conviction set aside by the Supreme Court. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison.

A five-member panel of the Supreme Court on Monday, led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, criticised the decision of the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which upheld the conviction.

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

The court added that the EFCC lacks the statutory power to investigate or prosecute acts of perversion of the course of justice, as well as holding that the Lagos High Court erred when it convicted Nwobike in this matter.

In April 2018, Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the Lagos High Court had convicted the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joseph Nwobike on a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was sentenced to a 30-day jail term for being in constant communication with some court officials which influenced the decision of his case to be assigned to the referred judge, based on evidence presented by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, LPPC, announced swiftly the suspension of the legal practitioner from using the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Nwobike was also accused by the EFCC, through its counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, of exchanging SMS with a court registrar regarding the assignment of his cases and when such cases should be heard.

While Mr Nwobike admitted sending messages to the court officials at his trial, he denied that the intention was to influence the outcome of his cases before certain judges.

According to him, the N750,000 he gave to a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, was not a bribe, but was “for the specific purpose of helping the (sick) mother of the gentleman.”

Following the judgment, the Senior Advocate filed a notice of appeal to challenge his conviction.

He claimed that the judgment was unjust and that the EFCC had failed to prove its allegations of attempts to pervert the course of justice.

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