Thursday, April 7, 2016 6:17 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
Reprieve came the way of the ex-beauty queen, Ibinabo Fiberesima today as the Appeal court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria granted her bail.
Fiberesima who is serving a five-year jail term in Kirikiri Prison for manslaughter has appealed the sentence passed in 2009 by a Lagos High Court at the Supreme Court. The appeal court approved her bail pending the outcome of the Supreme court verdict.
She was convicted by a Lagos High court after a retrial and found guilty for reckless driving, which was responsible for an auto crash, which claimed the life of one Dr. Giwa Suraj on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
While sentencing Fiberesima to five years imprisonment, Justice Deborah Oluwayemi overruled the decision of the State Magistrates’ Court which earlier ordered her to pay N100,000 fine for the offence.
Dissatisfied with Justice Oluwayemi’s verdict, the convicted ex- beauty Queen approached the Court of Appeal to nullify the verdict but the court also affirmed the sentence.
The Nollyhood actress promptly filed an appeal at the Supreme Court, while also simultaneously filing an application before the Court of Appeal, praying the court to release her on bail pending the Supreme Court verdict.
In an affidavit of urgency filed in support of her bail application before the Court of Appeal, one Victor Eden said Fiberesima had just undergone a surgery for breast cancer and was still under the watch of her doctors.
Eden said Fiberesima’s surgical wound had yet to properly heal, adding that the actress was afraid that her life might be endangered if kept in the prison custody.
Therefore, he said, it would best serve the interest of justice to release her on bail while the Supreme Court decision in her case is awaited.
Lagos State Government did not oppose the application but urged the court to use its discretion.
The state represented by Mrs Rotimi Odutola held that what really concerned the state was the pursuit of the appeal filed by the convict.
She said the nucleus of her appeal was not on whether she was guilty or not, adding the actress did not dispute her conviction but only appealed the sentence.
After listening to the argument of both parties,the appelate court granted the convict bail in the sum of two million naira with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Samuel Osuji who read the lead judgment, held that there was nothing in the record of the court that the convict once jumped bail.
And there was enough evidence before the court that the convict has health challenge.
However, one of the justices on the three-man panel, Justice Y B Nimba did not agreed with the majority view.
She held that no special circumstance existed for the granting of bail.
*The author, Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at: [email protected]