Heritage Reporter

the preferred source for fresh top stories

Kanu appeals Justice Binta Nyako’s ruling

The ruling of Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Federal High Court of March 19, 2024, on Nnamdi Kanu has been appealed.

 

The legal team of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, led by Barrister Aloy Ejimakor, appealed the ruling before the Appeal Court.

According to the notice of appeal filed by Ejimakor with charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, the legal team said the High Court Appeal Court that the lower court denied Kanu’s constitutional rights to a fair trial.

The document read, “TAKE NOTICE that the Appellant being dissatisfied with the Ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division coram: B.F.M Nyako, J. delivered on the 19th March, 2024 doth hereby appeal to the Court of Appeal Abuja upon the grounds set out in Paragraph 3 below and will at the hearing of the appeal seek reliefs as set out in Paragraph 4 hereof from the Court of Appeal.

“AND the Appellant further states that the names and addresses of persons directly affected by this Appeal are as stated in paragraph 5 below.

“The Learned trial Court erred in law when the Court assumed jurisdiction to proceed with the hearing of the criminal trial against the Appellant when the Appellant is glaringly denied the constitutional right to fair trial with particular reference to denial of adequate facilities to prepare for the defence of the criminal allegations against the Appellant and his right to counsel of his own choice, thereby occasioning a grave miscarriage of justice.”

The legal team specified the Particulars of the error, as:

“Fair hearing/trial bears the constitutional safeguards of ensuring that the Appellant is accorded the adequate facilities to prepare for the defence of the criminal allegations levelled against the Appellant.

“The denial of the Appellant the opportunity to interact and brief his counsel on what line of defences the Appellant tends to agitate in the trial court and rely on was adequately brought to the attention of the trial Court by Motion.

“The trial Court failed and neglected to make necessary orders that would protect the Appellant’s aforesaid rights but rather held that the Court cannot dictate how the Respondent carries out its work.

“The trial Court has the powers to order the Respondent (being the detaining authority) to cease and desist from interfering with Appellant’s constitutional/fair hearing right to adequate facilities to prepare defence and his right to counsel of his choice; and where it is impossible to do so or where the Respondent persists, the trial court has the power to order an alternative custodial arrangement or non-custodial arrangement for the Appellant.

“Denial of the Appellant’s right to adequate facilities to prepare defence as enshrined in Section 36 (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 is a jurisdictional issues in the absence of which the trial Court cannot assume or proceed with the jurisdiction over the case unless and until such facilities are accorded to the Appellant.”

The document read further, “The Learned Trial Judge erred in law when the Court held that ‘I cannot make orders directing a security agency on how to do their work. I can only direct that whatever is within the law must be allowed to the Defendant. Counsel cannot direct the court or give condition to the court on how to conduct its business. The Defendant is entitled to a counsel of his choice and should be given the facility to conduct interview with his counsel within the confines of the law’ and in the process occasioned grave miscarriage of justice against the Appellant.”

It went further, “The Appellant by a Notice of Preliminary Objection filed on the 19/2/2024 prayed the trial Court to find and hold that trial in the case cannot proceed except:

“The Respondent stopped the unconstitutional acts of forcibly seizing and photocopying confidential legal documents brought to the Appellant by the Appellant’s lawyers meant for the Appellant’s defence of the charges against the Appellant;

“The Respondent stopped refusing and preventing the Appellant’s Counsel from taking notes of details of confidential discussions/consultation during visitations to the Appellant.

“Stopped eavesdropping on the Appellant’s confidential consultation/conversations with the Appellant’s counsel which discussion is aimed at preparing the Appellant for his defence.

“In support of the Application, the Appellant relied on Paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 of the Affidavit in support and which was Exhibited and filed with the Motion Paper.

“In the Respondent’s counter affidavit of 23/2/2024, the Respondent tacitly admitted in Paragraphs 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 thereof that  the Respondent denied counsel to the Appellant the right to take notes; denied them the rights to transmit messages and information to the Appellant; secretly took pictures of counsel and the Appellant’s interviews and recorded briefings between the Appellant’s lawyers and the Appellant, scanned documents meant for the Appellant from the Appellant’s team of lawyers and even refused to allow lawyers to the Appellant deliver letters to the Appellant.

“The action of the Respondent in the instant case is a flagrant violation of the Appellant’s right to counsel of his own choice as stipulated in Section 36 (6) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“Having realized that the allegations made by the Appellant were admitted by the Respondent, the trial Court ought to restrain itself from proceeding with or attempting to hear the case without the Appellant being afforded the adequate facilities and choice of counsel to prepare his defence.

“An order for the Respondent to allow the Appellant freedom to consult with his lawyers in the preparation of the Appellant’s defence does not translate to directing the Respondent on how to do their work or the Appellant dictating to the Court how the case is to be conducted.

“The decision of the trial Court that the Defendant is entitled to a counsel of his choice and should be given the facility to conduct interview with his counsel within the confines of the law is ambiguous and a license to the Respondent to deny the Appellant the Constitutional rights to adequate facilities to prepare for his defence and right to counsel, given that the Respondent in their counter affidavit had alleged that what they do to the Appellant and his legal team are “within the confines of the law”.

“The Learned Trial Judge erred in law when the Court ordered for accelerated hearing of the case given the facts of the case showing that the Respondent had consistently refused to afford the Appellant the right to adequate facility to prepare for the defence of the charges levelled against the Appellant and his right to counsel, and thereby occasioned miscarriage of justice against the Appellant and in favour of the Respondent.”

The lawyers stated the particulars of error, as “The trial Court cannot order accelerated hearing of a criminal charge where it is brought to the attention of the Court that the Appellant is denied the adequate facilities to prepare his defence and his right to counsel.

“The order for accelerated hearing of the case in face of the constitutional breaches of fair hearing/trial rights of the Appellant is a credence to the Respondent to proceed on the unconstitutional denial of the Appellant his right to adequate facilities to prepare for his defence and his right to counsel of his choice.

“In the present case where Sections 36 (6) (b) and (c) of the Constitution are violated by the Respondent against the Appellant, the trial Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and or proceed with the hearing of the case.”

In the document, Kanu’s legal team in reliefs sought from the Supreme Court of Nigeria, stated the following:

“To allow the appeal, set aside the decision/ruling, the subject of this appeal; and in particular: For the trial court to decline jurisdiction to proceed with the hearing of the case unless and until the Appellant is granted his right to fair hearing under Section 36(6)(6)(b) and (c) of the Constitution; or in the alternative for the trial court to order an alternative custodial or non-custodial arrangement free of interference with Appellant’s said constitutional right to fair hearing.

“Set aside the order for accelerated hearing of the case in the circumstances of the case where the Appellant is not allowed facilities to prepare for the defence of the charges against him and denied his right to counsel.

“Staying the proceedings pending when the Respondent affords the Appellant the constitutional safeguards of being afforded adequate facilities to prepare for his defence and his unfettered right to counsel.

“An Order of the Honorable Court of Appeal granting the Appellant such further relief or reliefs as this Honorable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this Appeal.”

Facebook Comments Box