➥ CASE SUMMARY OF:
Fani-Kayode v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) & Ors. (2019) – CA
by “PipAr” B.C. Chima
Court of Appeal – CA/L/722C/2018
➥ JUDGEMENT DELIVERED ON:
Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019
➥ AREA(S) OF LAW
Judicial division to try criminal offence.
➥ NOTABLE DICTA
⦿ POWER TO TRANSFER CASE TO ANOTHER DIVISION IS DISCRETIONARY – FHC
There is no doubt that the starting point with regards to the territorial jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is the statutorily codified and judicially noticed principle that the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court is one and nationwide. It is also however settled that same has been divided into Judicial Divisions and where a crime has been committed, such crime ought to be prosecuted in the Judicial Division of the Federal High Court in the State or States where any of the elements of the crime was allegedly committed, or one that is close to it, subject to the power of transfer, by which a matter may be tried outside the State of commission upon compelling reasons to so do. The foregoing is in my view the import of the Provisions of Sections, Section 45 of the Federal high Court Act; and Sections 93, 98, 385, 386 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, relied on by both parties. — J.Y. Tukur, JCA.
⦿ NOT ALL FAILURE TO PRONOUNCE ON ALL ISSUES WILL RESULT IN BREACH OF FAIR HEARING
Now while a Court has a duty to pronounce on all the key issues in a matter, it is not every failure of a Court to pronounce on issues that would constitute a breach of fundamental right to fair hearing. See: C.N. OKPALA & SONS LTD v. NB PLC (2017) LPELR-43826(SC); FODE DRILLING (NIG) LTD v. FABBY & ORS (2017) LPELR-42822(CA); and SAIPEM CONTRACTING (NIG) LTD & ORS v. FIRS & ORS (2018) LPELR-45118(CA). — J.Y. Tukur, JCA.
➥ LEAD JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY:
Jamilu Yammama Tukur, JCA
⦿ FOR THE APPELLANT
⦿ FOR THE RESPONDENT
Rotimi Oyedepo Iseoluwa Esq., 1st Respondent;
R. I. Nkannebe, 2nd Respondent.
➥ CASE HISTORY
The Appellant is charged before the trial court on a criminal offence. He filed a motion asking the Court to reassign the suit to Abuja being that many of the witnesses who will testify are resided in Abuja. Also for the reason that the Defendants reside outside Lagos State.
The trial Judge dismissed the motion. This is an appeal against the ruling of the trial Judge.
➥ ISSUE(S) & RESOLUTION
I. Whether having regards to the facts and circumstances of this case, it can be said that the lower court lacks territorial jurisdiction to try Appellant on the charges against him in Lagos?
RULING: IN 1st RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
A. “The first major question that must be answered in this appeal is whether any element of the crime allegedly committed by the Appellant occurred in Lagos. A look at the charge sheet at pages 3-8 of the record reveals that one of the offences charged against the Appellant, particularly in count 17, which revolves around the payment of a certain sum to PW1 apparently, occurred in Lagos. This is what the trial Judge was referring to at page 1058 of the records where after referring to Section 93 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, stated thus: “In the case before me, the Prosecution has averred in Paragraph 4 (b)-(c) of the Counter Affidavit in the following terms: 4b. As a matter of fact, the sum of N30,000,000.00 was paid to PW1, Idowu Olusegun of Paste Poster Company, whose office address is at 159, Igbosere Road, Lagos. 4c. That Mr. Idowu Olusegun contracted by the Applicant and paid with the proceeds of the alleged offence. These in my view are clear allegations that some act forming part of the offence or at least the consequence of it happened in Lagos. Only evidence would show the truth or otherwise of the allegations.” The implication of the above is that it cannot be rightly said that Lagos is not the proper place for the trial of the criminal matter leading to this appeal on the grounds that it is not the place of the commission of the offence.”
II. Whether having regards to the facts and circumstances of this case it can be said that the Appellant’s right to fair hearing was breached and violated by the lower court in determining the Appellant’s motion dated 15th may, 2017?
RULING: IN 1st RESPONDENT’S FAVOUR.
A. “A careful examination of the ruling of the lower Court reveals that issue of transfer was mainly settled on the plank of the crime occurring in Lagos, thus the issue of convenience of the Appellant in defending the matter cannot truncate his trial in a place where the offence occurred.”
“In light of the above, the appeal fails and is consequently dismissed. The Ruling of the lower Court delivered on 26th September, 2017 is affirmed.”
➥ MISCELLANEOUS POINTS
➥ REFERENCED (STATUTE)
➥ REFERENCED (CASE)
➥ REFERENCED (OTHERS)