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CLEMENT NWAOHA v. COMMISSIONER OF POLICE

(2018) LPELR-44214(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 13th day of April, 2018

SC.708/2014


Before Their Lordships

IBRAHIM TANKO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

OLUKAYODE ARIWOOLA Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUMAI BAYANG AKA'AHS Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMINA ADAMU AUGIE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

CLEMENT NWAOHA - Appellant(s)

AND

COMMISSIONER OF POLICE - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
The appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.

FACTS:
This is an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal Port-Harcourt division.

This matter originated from the Chief Magistrate Court of Rivers State holden at Port-harcourt, coram: Chief Magistrate, IGONIKO, EMMAN. The appellant had been charged along with nine (9) others with offences of conduct likely to cause breach of the peace and willful damage. In his judgment delivered on 23/02/1994, seven (7) out of the ten persons that stood trial were acquitted of the charge and they were accordingly discharged. The appellant and two others were however each found guilty as charged and were convicted and sentenced to six (6) months imprisonment with hard labour with an option of fine of N250.00 for counts 2,3,4 and 5 of the charge. The three were cautioned and discharged for counts 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the charge.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the said Chief Magistrate Court, the appellant and the other two convicts appealed to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court of Rivers State. In its judgment delivered on 17/7/1996, the High Court of Rivers State sitting as a special appeal cases Court, coram: K. D. Ungbuku, the Chief Judge (of blessed memory) and C.I. Uriri, J. (as he then was) found the appeal incompetent and same was dismissed. Further aggrieved with the decision of the High Court, the appellant and two others appealed to the Port-Harcourt division of the Court of Appeal. In its unanimous decision handed down on 25/02/2010, the Court of Appeal found the appeal incompetent and unmeritorious. It dismissed same without costs.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

ISSUES:
The Supreme Court determined the appeal on a sole issue as follows:
"Whether the Court below was right to have dismissed the appellant's appeal for want of diligent prosecution when the said appeal was not heard on the merits."

DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the Court held that the appeal deserves to be allowed in part. Not having been heard on merits, the order dismissing the appeal by the Court of Appeal was set aside. Accordingly, the appeal succeeded, in part, and it was so allowed in part. The appeal was thereby remitted to the Court of Appeal to be heard on merit on the briefs filed by the parties.


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