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JOSEPH OKOLI v. THE STATE

(2018) LPELR-44670(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 25th day of May, 2018

CA/E/24C/2017


Before Their Lordships

HELEN MORONKEJI OGUNWUMIJU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

TOM SHAIBU YAKUBU Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JOSEPH TINE TUR Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

JOSEPH OKOLI - Appellant(s)

AND

THE STATE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.
FACTS:
This appeal is sequel to the ruling of the Anambra State High Court of Justice, holden at Aguata-Ekwulobia, delivered on 6th February, 2017.

The appellant was arraigned at the High Court on 30th June, 1997 vide the Charge No. AG/26C/1997 along with 16 others, on a six count charge of conspiracy, malicious damage, rioting, stealing, forceful entry and riotous demolition of property. The appellant pleaded not guilty to the said charges, upon his arraignment on 30th June, 1997. The trial of the appellant commenced on 8th November, 1999 and the respondent fielded her first witness (PW1). Thereafter, for one reason or the other, the trial became stalled. The proceedings were then before Ezeani, J., who admitted the appellant as his co-defendants, to bail.

???On 9th March, 2016, the appellant filed a motion on notice wherein he sought an order to the effect that the charges preferred against him, be quashed/dismissed, which would lead to his discharge from the said charges against him. There was a written address filed in support thereof. The respondent resisted the application and filed a counter-affidavit against it with a written address by the respondent's counsel. Thereafter, the appellant filed a Further Affidavit and a Reply on Points of Law. 

The learned trial judge, Mbonu-Nwenyi, J., in his ruling delivered on 6th February, 2017, dismissed the appellant's application as lacking in merits.

The appellant was distraught with the said ruling, he thus appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court of Appeal determined the appeal on these issues couched as follows:

(1). Whether the lower Court, was right when it held that the fundamental right of the Appellant to fair hearing within a reasonable time as guaranteed by Section 36(4) of the Constitution of the FRN 1999 (as amended) has not been breached by the delay in hearing the charge.
(2). Whether the learned trial judge rightly dismissed the Appellant's application to quash and/or dismiss the charges against him.

DECISION/HELD:
On the whole, the Court of Appeal found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed same.


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