The attestation papers, filed in on the matter, were received by the European court on April 16. The foundation of Ibori’s appeal, according to the papers filed by his counsel, rests on the fact that Britain disobeyed its own laws all in a rush to convict the former governor. His counsel argued, inter alia, that: “This application concerns an unusual provision of United Kingdom law: s17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’). “It prohibits any reference, in any proceedings, to an intercepted communication or its contents – e.g. an intercepted phone call – in circumstances in which its origin as an intercepted communication is disclosed or could be inferred. The UK is virtually unique in having such a provision: intercepted communications are used routinely as evidence in court proceedings throughout Europe and the rest of the world. “Ibori’s counsel alleged that the operation of s17 of RIPA, as applied in the highly unusual circumstances of his case, resulted in a violation of Ibori’s rights pursuant to Article 6 of ECHR. This actually is the crux of the matter, according to Ibori’s counsel, because Britain’s failure to obey its own laws has rendered every other thing that followed, including Ibori’s guilty plea later, defective.” The conversation around the matter is that Ibori went on appeal after pleading guilty. But his counsel said, in the appeal papers filed at the European Court of Human Rights, that Ibori had pleaded guilty to criminal offences but subsequently applied for permission to appeal his convictions in light of the disclosure of new material. It is this “new material,” which surfaced later, that Ibori is predicating this appeal on. The former governor’s counsel said in the case filed at the EU Court of Human Rights that at one of the court’s sittings, “Ms Sasha Wass QC (‘SWQC’), who had previously been instructed to prosecute the applicant (Ibori), sent a note to the Court of Appeal (‘the Wass Note’). The counsel added: “It was a highly unusual note because it provided information, which could easily identify the source of the new material on which the applicant’s appeal was based. However, in a reverse twist, such disclosure is prohibited in all court proceedings by s17 of RIPA. “In response to the Wass Note, and in an effort to attempt to comply with s17 of RIPA for the remainder of the hearing, the Court of Appeal imposed ‘Ground Rules’ on the parties. This limited what the applicant’s counsel could refer to in his submissions. “The applicant submitted to the Court of Appeal – and submits in this application – that s17 of RIPA, combined with the ‘Ground Rules’, prevented him from properly developing his submissions before the Court of Appeal. As a result his appeal hearing was unfair.” The above is the crux of the matter, the counsel said. It is the major plank on which Ibori’s case rests.]]>

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