The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on Thursday granted a N2m bail to actress, Ibinabo Fiberesima, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment for manslaughter.
In a two-one split judgment, the appellate court decided that Fiberesima’s application for bail had merit.
Justice Samuel Oseji, who read the lead judgment, granted the N2m bail Fiberesima with two sureties in like sum.
The court said the two sureties must be resident in Lagos and must each swear to an affidavit of means.
Justice Oseji said he was inclined to exercise discretion in Fiberesima’s favour in view of her health and because there was no record that she had jumped bail in the past.
The judge said it would amount to injustice if after Fiberesima had been kept in prison, the Supreme Court later, after about three to four years, decided that the five-year jail term imposed on her should be set aside.
Justice Sidi Bage, who presided over the proceedings, aligned himself with the lead judgment but the third member of the panel, Justice Y.B. Nimpar, dissented.
Justice Nimpar said the ill health grounds upon which the ex-beauty queen anchored her application for bail was untenable.
The judge noted that there was no record before the court that Fiberesima had suffered any complication since February that she underwent surgery for breast cancer and April when she brought her application for bail.
Besides, Justice Nimpar said there were adequate medical facilities in the prison to cater to her health needs, adding that the prison hospital could also give her referral for consultancy in the event that she has any condition that could not be taken care by the prison hospital.
“The surgery was uneventful. The surgery was done in February, now we are here in April and there is no complication.
“The applicant is already convicted and presumption of innocence is no longer available.
“I personally will not exercise discretion in favour of the applicant,” Justice Nimpar held.
In support of Fiberesima’s bail application filed through her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, one Victor Eden had deposed to a six-paragraph affidavit stating that Fiberesima recently had a surgical operation for breast cancer.
Eden said in the affidavit that Fiberesima was afraid that her life might be endangered if kept in the prison custody.
He had urged the court to grant her bail in the interest of justice.
Fiberesima was in 2009 convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years imprisonment by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of a Lagos State High court.
The judge had held that her reckless driving was responsible for an auto crash, which claimed the life of one Dr. Giwa Suraj on the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
While sentencing actress to five years imprisonment, Justice Oluwayemi overruled the decision of a Lagos State Magistrates’ Court which earlier ordered her to pay N100,000 for the offence.
Not pleased with the judgment, Fiberesima, through her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, approached the Court of Appeal, seeking to upturn the judgment.
But in a judgment on March 11, 2016, the Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal and upheld the five years imprisonment imposed on her.
Again, not pleased she further appealed to the Supreme Court and urged the Court of Appeal to grant her bail pending the decision of the apex court.