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113  
08-03-17
This rights are postulated in chapter 34 & 35 of the 1999 constitution as amended

1. Right to remain silent.
2. Right to be informed of reason of arrest.
3. Right to dignity of human person.
4. Right to personal liberty.
5. Right to counsel.
6. Right to legal aid.
7. Right to be arraigned before a court of law within a reasonable time.
8. Remedy for unlawful arrest and detention.
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166  
20-01-17

Supposing I was walking by the road side and suddenly someone on a bike snatched by phone or bag containing my valueables. With the high adrenaline at that moment I chased the bike shouting thief ! thief ! thief !, on moving close to it kick the bike from behind as both passengers fell down hitting their head against a stone, resulting to their death.

Have I committed Murder, or when people arrive to the scene would I be arrested for a murder or would be allowed to go home in peace.

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488  
18-03-16

Open the blinds that
cover their eyes, turn on the lights inside their minds, put all
judgments and rumours aside and instead, put Truth and Justice, at both
your sides. Leave the egos and drama all behind. And in time…truth
always wins with Time.”- Suzy Kassem in Rise Up and Salute the Sun.

THE People of Quebec are so passionate about their rights to
self–determination. They expressed nationalistic view on this right to
go their own way.
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed.The Supreme Court of Canada in Re Secession of Quebec said that the
Canadian Constitution does not give Quebec the right to unilaterally
secede.

Furthermore, the Court determined that international law and the
principle of self-determination do not confer the right to
secession.That was a painful pile to swallow but the People of Quebec
did not bring down their institution. They have moved on and there is
certainty there will be another day to test the will of their people for
self-determination.

The heightened security situation and permanent tension between the
Israeli and the Palestine is common knowledge. The Israeli government
deployed the use of drones for targeted killing of suspected Hamas
leaders. In the case instituted by The Public Committee against Torture
in Israel and Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and
the Environment against the Government of Israel, the Israeli Supreme
Court ruled against the use of targeted killing on the ground that it is
too excessive in the fight against the Hamas.

In both instances above, the decisions of the Courts were seen as being
against public opinion. The government and the people of both nations
did not denigrate the highest institutions of justice. They stood by the
decisions of their courts and that is why the institutions of most
parts of western world are held in high esteem worldwide.

Coming back home to Nigeria, one can remember the exploits of giants in
judicial space who made us proud worldwide.

Notable examples include Justices Teslim Elias, Charles Dadi Onyeama,
Akinola Aguda, and Chukwudifu Oputa, all of blessed memory. Among the
retired, but living are Justices Muhammadu Lawal Uwais, Mohammed
Mustapha Akanbi, Dahiru Musdapher, Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, Inumidun
Akande, Judge Bola Ajibola and so many others too numerous to name. It
is indisputable that there are still many selfless, pious jurists on the
different ladders of our benches.

The CJN, Mahmud Mohammed is renowned for as strict, pious, and
independent. There is no basis or ground for the unfounded apprehension
about lack of distinguished and honourable men and women of integrity in
our judiciary. It is important we find a way of speaking for our
judicial officers especially now that it is common place to allege bias
once Judgement goes the other way.

The apex court had delivered the judgement on January 27 but the reasons
for the decision came on the February 12, 2016. To those who are
conversant with Justices of the Supreme Court, there was never any need
to doubt our most learned Lords. They are the conscience of our judicial
system; they know the interplay between the law and the concept of
justice. They have paid their dues in defending the sanctity of our
institution and this short piece is not only to align myself with their
decision in Wike’s case but in all their decisions in relation to other
election petitions.

It is satisfying to have to read the full judgement of the Court. One
must admit it was worth the wait. And it has further strengthened my
conviction about the intellectual sagacity of our Judicial Officers.

The Summary of the Court decision are that there was allegation of
denial of fair hearing, the introduction of card readers, as innovative
as it appears to be cannot displace the place of voters’ register. On
the issue of allegation of violence and hijacking, the court held that
Dakuku was not able to prove beyond reasonable doubt because he failed
to bring in witnesses from polling units to substantiate the claims. It
was also held that the APC did not proof their allegation of
non-accreditation.

On the evidence of the INEC staff (called by the Petitioners), who
described the election as a sham and a mockery of democracy, the court
held that his evidence cannot take the place of voters as he himself
under cross examination did not say that he personally witnessed any
violence but depended on hearsay and finally, the court held that to
warrant nullification of an election, a petitioner has to prove that
there was substantial non-compliance in all polling units, adding that
they failed to bring the issue within this parameter. The apex court
also advised INEC to approach the

National Assembly for an amendment to incorporate the use of card
readers in the law of the land.

The most important part of the decision of the Supreme Court in this
case was the fact that it was a unanimous decision. The seven-man panel
of justices of the apex court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria
(CJN), Justice Mahmud Muhammed, said though INEC should be commended for
the introduction of the card reader “to booster the accuracy and
transparency of the accreditation process and to maintain the democratic
norm of one man, one vote, by detecting multiple voting, “Section 49
(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act which provides for manual accreditation
of voters, is a stamp and remains a vital part of our electoral law.”

It was further said by the Supreme Court that it was not enough for
anyone that is challenging the outcome of an election on the premise
that there was over-voting, to merely tender and rely on card reader
reports, without linking same with the actual voters’ register. It said
the card reader was only a technological innovation that was introduced
to enhance the accreditation of voters for an election, with a view to
identifying the actual owner of the voters’ card.

In dismissing the contention of APC and Peterside Dakuku that the Card
Reader being a Certified Public Document represented the true position
of what happened in Rivers State, the Apex court placed reliance on its
recent decisions in Shikafi Vs. Yari and Okereke Vs. Umahi and declared
that “in order to prove non-accreditation and over-voting, the 1st and
2nd respondents were bound to rely on the voters’ register in respect of
all the affected local governments.”

It is instructive to note that the voters’ register tendered were only
in respect of 11 out of 23 local governments. They were tendered from
the bar and there was no attempt made to link them with exhibit A-9. It
is also noteworthy that forms EC8A were tendered in respect of only 16
out of 23 local government areas. On this, the Supreme Court held per
K.M. O. Kekere –Ekun, JSC that “This cannot meet the required standard
of proving over-voting polling unit by polling unit. Furthermore, the
voters’ register could not be jettisoned in the exercise.” The Supreme
Court contended that the tendering of the exhibits from the bar, without
their makers being called, amounted to “documentary hearsay”, saying
the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Abuja
Division of the Court of Appeal were wrong in placing reliance on them.

On the directive of INEC on the use of Card Reader, the Court further
held per Justice Kekere-Ekun as follows: “I am of the view and I do hold
that the tribunal and lower court were unduly swayed by the INEC
directive on the use of the card reader. As held by this court, the INEC
directives cannot be elevated above the provisions of the Electoral Act
so as to eliminate manual accreditation of voters. This will remain so
until INEC take steps to have the necessary amendments made to bring the
usage of the card reader within the ambit of the substantive Electoral
Act. It was for this reason that that I resolved these two issues in
favour of the appellant.” In going further on the issue of Card Reader
and the power of INEC to make regulations, citing sections 138(1b), (2)
and 153 of the Electoral Act, the apex court noted that whereas INEC is
conferred with powers to issue regulation, guidelines and manual for
smooth conduct of an election, it said, “so long an act or omission
regarding such regulation or guideline is not contrary to the provisions
of the Act itself, it shall not on itself be a ground for questioning
the outcome of the election.

The Court reaffirmed the fact that it will not ordinarily interfere with
the concurrent findings of two lower courts unless it was shown that
the verdicts were “perverse or not based on the proper and dispassionate
appraisal of evidence or that there was an error either of fact or law,
which occasioned the miscarriage of justice.”

It said where a petitioner complains of non-compliance with the
Electoral Act, he has the task to prove it polling unit by polling unit;
ward by ward. And the standard of proof is on the balance of
probability. He must show figures that the adverse party was credited
with and the result of the non-compliance. It is only then that the
respondents are to lead evidence in rebuttal. It is also the law that
were the commission of crime by a party is directly in issue in any
proceeding, civil or criminal, it must be proved beyond every reasonable
doubt. The burden of prove is on the person, who asserts it.

The APC and Peterside called 66 witnesses, 18 of them were ward
collation agents, who received information from polling agents from the
various units, saying their evidence was not tied to any of the exhibits
tendered. It was equally the position of the apex court that serious
allegations of crime that were made “throughout the length and breadth
of the petition, such as hijacking and diversion of election materials,
the illegal thumb printing of ballot papers, falsification of results,
violence and kidnapping of electoral officers”, were not proved beyond
every reasonable doubt, adding that,

“Where crimes are alleged, the ingredients of the offences must be
proved. This they failed to do.”

There was commendation of INEC on the introduction of Card reader but in
a very sound reasoning of the Apex court, the introduction of the said
card was solely to authenticate the owner of the voter’s card and
prevention of multiple voting and not in any way intended to replace the
voters register in appropriate form. The court did not stop here as
there was a suggestion to INEC to request for an amendment to the
National Assembly to incorporate the use of Card reader in the Electoral
Act.

It is a settled law that the maker of a document should normally be
called to give evidence on the document in issue. The Court reaffirmed
this settled law when it said: “This court has in plethora of cases
emphasised that where the maker of a document is not called to testify,
the document should not be accorded any probative value, notwithstanding
the fact that it is a certified public document. Exhibit A-9 was
tendered as conclusive proof of the number of accredited voters at the
election.

As stated earlier, PW-49 did not participate at any stage of the
election process in Rivers State….What is evident from the extracts of
the testimony of the PW-49 is that exhibit A-9 cannot be a conclusive
proof of the number of accredited voters at the election. The witnesses
are acknowledged that there are circumstances when the card reader did
not read the voters’ PVC, in which case incident forms are used. No
incident forms were tendered by the 1st and 2nd respondents. Secondly,
there was an arbitrary cut-off date set up by INEC for the upload of
data in the INEC data base. Thirdly, as observed by learned senior
counsel to the appellant, there was nothing to show that as at the time
the 1st and 2nd respondents applied for exhibit A-9, all the data from
the card reader used for the election, had been fully uploaded.

It is equally interesting to note that exhibit A-9 contained a figure of
293, 72 accredited voters, which is contrary to the pleadings in
paragraph 20 of the petition that not more than 299, 878 voters were
accredited.

Immediately after the apex court delivered the judgement in favour of
Wike. Many prominent Nigerians including the renowned Professor Sagay
and the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun cried foul
and there was a direct accusation of former governor Odili influencing
the said judgement through his wife. I was particularly taken aback and I
felt the need to wait for the judgement and get to read the reasoning
behind the landmark decision of the court. It is important to state that
Hon. Justice Mary Odili was not part of the panel that heard this
appeal and it is important that the Nigerian Bar Association should ask
those who allege bias and undue influence to come and prove their
allegation.

To me, I felt a special need to read the Judgement because it was my own
personal legal icon that read the lead judgement. I have read so many
judgements of Justice Kekere-Ekun and I make bold to say that she is
about the most erudite judge of our time. It is my hope and aspiration
to be as learned and erudite as noble justice of the Supreme Court.

It is uncharitable and ungodly for anyone to seek to tarnish her and the
brethren of the Supreme Court merely because their decisions displease
us or disappoint us. Those who do not know My Lord Justice Kekere-Ekun
should ask from those who know and have closely followed her career and
reputation from the Magistracy, to High court, to Court of Appeal, up to
the Supreme Court. I assure them that they would come to a conclusion
that she is one judge that can never be influenced or pressured to give
judgment along a particular way. And since these justices are not in a
position to defend themselves, it is most unfair to accuse them of bias
without any shred of evidence.

In closing, I recall the decision of the Supreme Court in the celebrated
electoral case between Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Alhaji Shehu Shagari
that arose from 1979 presidential elections. The ruling of the Supreme
Court on what constituted 2/3 of 19 States caused much consternation
among the supporters of Late Chief Awolowo who was on the losing end of
the verdict. The Supreme Court held that 2/3 of 19 states was 12 2/3. It
was a novelty that there could be a subdivision of a state. In the best
tradition of the bar, Chief Awolowo’s team led by the late Chief G. O.
K. Ajayi took the loss with solemnity.

Notably, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SAN, did not rebuke, criticize or attack
the court. There were no imputations against the Hon Justice Fatai
Atanda Williams led court. If need be, a more fairly recent case was the
case of Gore V Bush, where the US Supreme Court effectively ruled to
stop ongoing recounts of disputed ballots in a county in the State of
Florida which forced Al Gore to concede the 2000 presidential election
to George W. Bush, his Republican opponent. It need be noted too that Al
Gore is a lawyer

0
590  
18-03-16

The media have been
awash of recent with petitions by one Mr. Peter Eze, a lawyer against
the Chief Judge of Enugu State, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Innocent
Umezulike, to the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National
Judicial Council, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related
Offences Commission, wherein he levelled allegations of forgery and
misconducts.
Innocent-Azubuike-Umezulike picture 2
Innocent-Azubuike-Umezulike

In particular, the petitioner alleged that the Chief Judge and Mr. Vin
Aneke, (a lawyer and Director of Litigation and Courts Division) forged a
Judgment Order.

He further alleged that Aneke accepted gratification in parcels of land
from the plaintiffs supposedly for the allegedly forged Judgment Order.

However, the Chief Judge denied the allegations at a dinner he organised
for the Eastern Bar.

In his words: “The truth of the matter is that Justice P. K. Nwokedi as
Chief Judge of Old Anambra State with Headquarters in Enugu delivered
judgment in Suit NO: E.170/76 on the 25th day of June, 1985. Thereafter
the case progressed through the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court,
which delivered final judgment in the case in favour of the plaintiffs.

Judicial officer

“By the time the Supreme Court finally decided the appeal, Justice P.K.
Nwokedi has ceased to be the Chief Judge of Old Anambra State (with
Enugu as its Headquarters); he had been elevated to the Supreme Court
from the High Court of Old Anambra State. And by the time Supreme Court
dismissed the appeal in January 1997, Justice P. K. Nwokedi had retired
from the Supreme Court and was no longer a judicial officer.

“That was why upon the presentation of Annexure Two and I was satisfied
that the Supreme Court had ended the matter I, (as the Chief Judge of
Enugu State now) signed the warrant of execution.”

It is instructive that Justice Umezulike keeps talking about the Writ of
Execution. He does not talk about the Judgment Order. The complaint of
forgery by petitioner is not in respect of the Writ of Execution. The
complaint of forgery is not in respect of the Writ of Execution. What is
in issue here is whether a judge is entitled to draw up a Judgment
Order of a judgment he did not deliver and insert his name in it as if
he was the judge who delivered the judgment.

The Judgment Order, which he drew up and signed, states: “Upon this case
coming up before me today 25th of June 1985 for judgment.

“And upon considering the evidence, Exhibits tendered and submissions of
N. N. Anah Esq. of counsel for the plaintiffs and A. N. Anyamene Esq.
counsel for the Defendants, this Court adjudged as follows.”

It gives the impression that he heard the case and delivered the
judgment. He even went ahead to date the court order 25th June 1985
when he was not a judge. Did he sign the judgment order in 1985?

So, does the document tell a lie about itself? Yes it does; and a lot.
The Judgment Order is headed “IN THE HIGH COURT OF ENUGU STATE”, but the
judgment was delivered by the High Court of Anambra State, not Enugu
State. Enugu State was not in existence in 1985. There are therefore
two lies: that the judgment was delivered by the High Court of Enugu
State; and that Enugu State was in existence in 1985.

Another lie is that the case came up before Hon. Justice Umezulike and
that he heard the evidence and listened to the lawyers in the case. It
is not true that Hon. Justice Umezulike heard the case and delivered the
judgment. But, Justice Nwokedi who heard the case and delivered the
judgment.

Again, the Judgment Order was also signed by Mr. Aneke and is said to
have been issued at Enugu on 25th of June 1985. He was not a lawyer or
the Director of Litigation and Courts Division in the High Court of
Enugu State in 1985. He became a lawyer in 2003. He did not sign the
judgment order on 25th June 1985 as shown in the document.

He argues that once a judge retires or dies, any other judge may sign
his judgments or orders and insert his name as if he were the person who
delivered the judgment. That is not true. Only a judge who delivered a
judgment can sign the Judgment Order drawn up from the judgment.

Indeed, there is a very remarkable difference between a Judgment, a
Judgment Order, and a Writ of Execution based on the judgment. Any judge
may sign a Writ of Execution drawn up to execute a Judgment whether he
was the person who delivered the Judgment or not and regardless of what
date the Judgment was delivered. A Writ of Execution is not backdated,
but is dated the date it is signed.

Hon. Justice Umezulike signed and backdated a Judgment Order based on a
judgment he did not deliver, which he had no authority to do. He also
signed and properly dated a Writ of Execution, which he had power in
law to do. Both are two different court processes. A Chief Judge ought
to know better.

The next issue is the proper procedure for the enforcement of a
judgment.

The Judgment Enforcement Rules provide that if a judgment is more than 6
years old, you need the leave of court to enforce it. What was being
enforced was the judgment of the High Court of Anambra State and not the
judgment of the Supreme Court.

That is why the Judgment Order drawn up was that of the High Court,
which contained the terms of the judgment and not the Judgment Order of
the Supreme Court. Leave was, therefore, required to enforce the
judgment.

Another issue is that the original parties to the suit were dead.
Before the judgment could be enforced the people being represented were
required to bring an application to the High Court to substitute their
representatives. A case in court cannot stand when all the parties on
record are dead.

Therefore, some of the questions the NJC would likely be asking the CJ
are: When a judge retires or dies, can another judge sign a Judgment
Order based on the judgment delivered by the retired or dead judge? Can
he provide evidence of any other Judgment Order, which he or any other
judge has signed in similar circumstances? Was he entitled to alter the
heading of the case from Anambra State, where it was delivered, to Enugu
State?


0
430  
05-01-16
In my 400level during my University days, i could say it was fun all through, particularly in the winter semester. my room mate girlfriend had come visiting that afternoon and luckily for them to have full privacy, i had a lecture, so i quickly dressed up and headed for the faculty. A few meters away, I'd forgotten something so i went back to pick it up. Well, i met my room mate and his girlfriend in a lovebirds atmosphere. In a beautiful romantic mood, my friend on little short of linen made and his beautiful dark shinning skin girlfriend on towel around her chest, and in the arm of my room mate as he he rolled her around wrapped in his arm, both laughing and having great time, or so i thought. I didnt say anything happened i see no reason why you should be thinking that.
Good enough, i picked what i came for smiled a little with them and rushed out, it was Energy and Gas Law class, i dare not arrive late. After my lecture, i came back to our apartment very exhausted. I was alone in the room when my Phone rang and it was my roomie panting heavily on phone. He asked me to start coming back to campus. He has been covered with an angry mob after his lover, the very one i saw them together in a love garden, claimed she had been rape by my roomie. My friend was in a total mess, he needed a saviour, a due ex machina. i was shocked wondering how could there have been an act of rape and after the act there was such a romantic and enviable atmosphere such as the one i met? I was not a lawyer , i was only a law student. What am i going to do? how would i go about it? i must save my friend and roomie in the hand of this angry mob. moved to and fro in the room, after a while, i stormed out.
Indeed the scene was a total outrage. i was later granted audience after a lot of effort. The first question, i asked the crowd was "can anyone define the world rape? luckily a seemingly brilliant guy came up defining rape thus "it is having sexual intercourse without the consent or approval of the other party." I love that definition, but again it was the weapon i needed to rescue my preying friend. "from the definition this young man has given, can anybody define the word "consent?" i asked, gradually gaining my confidence and the full attention of the crowd. The same person said "consent means mutual agreement" I picked it up from there. I narrated the joyous mood and atmosphere i barged into the lovers after the act. so i was wondering if after the act of rape the lovers reconciled and continued in the romantic atmosphere. Then i threw a rhetoric question, "How can a lady be raped and immediately after the act, be friends with the rapist again while she was probably yet to put on her undies (which were neatly pulled off the body, not torn). All attention was on her to respond and all she could say was that she was initially in the mood and after the romance and during penetration, she lost interest and asked the guy to stop but he refused until he heard his satisfaction. I asked, "And afterwards, what happened?" i dressed up, get some food from the kitchen, after that, i left." she replied. one after the other, the crowd got dissolved and my friend and I gladly went back to our apartment while my friend teased me all through saying "you are not a lawyer yet, but you have won your first case.

Rape can only be said to have occurred when penetration is taken place without the consent of the second party, or with consent but wrong perception of the party consenting in relation to the personality of the other party, or with consent but under duress, coercion or misrepresentation, or with someone who does not have the ability to consent or decline.