A Seven Man Panel Of Justice Of The Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting in Abuja has allowed an appeal filed by Ogun State Government against Mathew Ibiloye, a convicted armed robber, while striking out the latter’s cross appeal.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, unanimously restored the earlier judgment of the Honourable Justice Elizabeth Osinuga of the High Court, Ogun State of July 17, 2009 and set aside that of the Court of Appeal of March 27, 2014.
Mathew Ibiloye who was charged with Armed Robbery offences had approached the Citizens Rights Department (CRD) of the State Ministry of Justice, for legal counsel to defend him in court as he claimed indigence of affording a lawyer to defend him, but was convicted by the High Court Judge.
The accused later approached the court of Appeal to contest his conviction, thus pleaded that the judgment of the State High Court be set aside on the ground of lack of fair hearing, claiming that the offices of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and the Citizens Right Department, which defended him were departments under the Ministry and might have been compromised.
Reacting to the judgment, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Olumide Ayeni, who led the team of counsel including Mrs. Feyisara Bolarinwa-Adebowale, Messrs Otenghabun Ebose and Adekolapo Ilori, described it as an affirmation of the regularity, validity and the constitutionality of the appearance of the counsel from the earlier mentioned departments of the Ministry.
He reiterated the commitment of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration at reforming criminal justice administration towards achieving speedy trials, assuring that, his Ministry would continue to do the needful at ensuring that there was no miscarriage of justice in the State.