Court sentences senior lawyer, Nwobike to one month imprisonment

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The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has sentenced a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Nwobike SAN to one month imprisonment for perversion of the course of justice.

The court sentenced him to one month’s imprisonment on each of the 12 counts but said the sentences would run concurrently. He was prosecuted by the EFCC on an 18-count charge bordering on an attempt to pervert the course of Justice.

Some of the counts read: “That you Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) on the 19th day of March, 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally gave the sum of N750,000.00 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only) to Hon. Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court directly through your United Bank for Africa Plc Account No. 1002664061 in order that the said judge acts in the exercise of his official duties.

“That you, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), on the 15th day of December, 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally and directly gave the sum of N 250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira only) to one Mrs. Ogunleye Helen Aderonke, Senior Executive officer, Federal High Court Lagos judicial division in order that the said Mrs. Ogunleye Helen Aderonke acts in the exercise of her official duties.”

Nwobike pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him,  thereby setting the stage for his full trial. The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had presented several witnesses and tendered various documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi, who pronounced the verdict on Monday, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, proved beyond reasonable doubts that the senior lawyer was in constant communication with court officials to influence the assignment of his cases to his preferred judges.

Adebiyi held that, “The defendant’s level of culpability was high and was carried out with impunity repeatedly over a period of time. “The level of culpability was high but the level of consequence was limited.”

The judge said the sentence would serve as a deterrent to lawyers and other stakeholders in the justice sector to desist from such acts.

“The defendant, Dr Joseph Nwobike, is hereby sentenced to a period of 1 month of 30 days imprisonment for each of the 12 counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

“The sentence is to run concurrently,” Adebiyi ruled.

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