The appeal filed by embattled Nollywood actress Ibinabo Fiberesima challenging the judgement of a Lagos State High Court, that sentenced her to five years imprisonment over the death of one Dr. Giwa Suraj, was yesterday dismissed by the Court of Appeal in Lagos, sitting at Igbosere.
Fiberesima was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi over reckless driving that caused the death of one Dr. Giwa Suraj who was a staff of one of Lagos State’s hospitals, in an auto accident along the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos.
Dissatisfied, the actress filed an amended appeal through her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina urging the court to set aside the five-year sentence and restore the decision of the Magistrate Court.
Delivering judgement yesterday, the appellate court dismissed the 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 grant Ibinabo option of fine having been convicted.
The Court further held that the appeal lacks merit and thereby dismissed it accordingly.
Other members of the panel are Justice U.I. Ndukwe-Anyanwu (Mrs.) (presiding) and Justice Tijani Abubakar respectively. Immediately the judgement was delivered, Ibinabo who was visibly apprehensive throughout the proceeding burst into tears and wept profusely.
The court had earlier ordered that the appellant, Fiberesima, should appear before it when judgement was to be delivered. Speaking on the judgement, her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina said the judgement would be challenged at the Supreme Court, adding that a Notice of Appeal had been filed already.
Fiberesima had earlier been awarded a N100,000 fine by an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court, but the then Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Supo Sasore (SAN), felt unsatisfied with the judgement and this prompted the state government to take its case to the Lagos State High Court.
At the Lagos High Court, Justice Oluwayemi set aside the option of fine imposed by the Magistrate’s Court and sentenced Fiberesima to five years imprisonment for dangerous and reckless driving. In her judgement, Justice Oluwayemi had held that the trial Magistrate exercised judicial recklessness when he gave the convict an option of fine.
The court had also 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.
Meanwhile, Saturday Vanguard gathered that the embattled actress has been in sober mood since the judgement was delivered.
Her Personal Assistant, who spoke to our reporter said, “My boss has been feeling unwell since the judgement was delivered. We are afraid it doesn’t affect her health.”