* Says Trial Judge Erred in Law
* Holds That The Trial Judge Goofed And Engaged In Over-Drive
The Court of Appeal has granted bail to Emmanuel Nwude, Former Director of Union Bank, in a criminal case brought against him by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, thereby, setting aside the ruling of the trial court.
In the suit with Appeal No: CA/L/1086C/2018, the appellant, Emmanuel Nwude, had appealed the ruling of the trial court, arguing that the trial court erred in law when it held that the grant of the applicant bail will serve no useful purpose because he is currently serving a prison term having been convicted by the court in a sister case.
According to the court, this fact is very string factor before the court for refusing bail and if erroneously granted, the applicant conviction and prison term remain fixed and unmovable.
Arguing the ruling, the appellant counsel, Chief Emeka Okpoko, SAN, and J.O Monte, canvassed among other things that the trial court failed to see that the applicant/appellant is not serving any prison term, adding that, the court erred in law when he suo motu raised the issue that the applicant is currently serving a prison term without inviting Counsel to address the court on it.
Accepting the submission of the appeallant on the appeal, the Court of Appeal in a judgement delivered by Hon. Justice Tujani Abubakar and made available to TheNigerialawyer (TNL), held that the trial judge goofed and engaged in over-drive, adding that the conclusion that the grant of the applicant bail will serve no useful purpose because he is currently serving a prison term having been convicted by the court in a sister case is patiently perverse and rendered the entire decision of the court valueless and defective.
The Court of Appeal held per Tujani Abubakar, JCA:
“I hold the view as held by the law Lord of the Supreme Court that the most important consideration in granting bail is the certainty that the Accused will be available to take his trial, more so, the law presumes the accused innocent. In the instant case, it is probable that the Appellant if granted bail will be available to appear and take his trail. He was granted administrative bail by the Respondent, he did not jump bail or compromise the terms of bail. From all available materials, the Appellant has not shown signs that if granted bail he will disappear. I am of the view that the Appellant cannot frizzle into the air if granted bail.
”I must make it clear that there are traces of injustice visited on the Appellant by the decision of the trial court, denying him bail, it is absolutely absurd that a court of law will make a finding that granting bail would serve no useful purpose since Appellant was serving a prison term. This is obvious injustice on the presumption of innocence which the appellant is entitled to enjoy.”
The court in setting aside the ruling of the trial court granted bail to the appellant in some terms, among others; one surety resident in Lagos, and that surety shall forfeit the sum of twenty-five million naira if the appellant jumps bail.
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A Report Of The Judgement Of The 16 Divisions Of The Court Of Appeal In Nigeria