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(2020) LPELR-49546(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Friday, the 28th day of February, 2020


Before Their Lordships

AYOBODE OLUJIMI LOKULO-SODIPE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ITA GEORGE MBABA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

IBRAHIM ALI ANDENYANGTSO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria




ANAYO UGWUMBA - Respondent(s)

Other Citations

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This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.

This is an appeal against the decision of the High Court of Imo State.

The facts of the case are that the Respondent had been charged before the Magistrates' Court, Ubulu in Oru-West L.G.A of Imo State (in a holding Charge) for murder, sometime in April 2018. Because the Learned Magistrate had no jurisdiction to take the trial, it ordered the remand of the Respondent in the Prison, and for the case file to be sent to the Director Public Prosecution (DPP), for advice/further action. That was on 8/5/18 and the case was adjourned to 11/5/2018 for report. While the order of the said Magistrate's Court, was pending, the learned Attorney General of Imo State issued a fiat to K.A. Nwakuche Esq (a private Legal Practitioner), on 23/5/2018, to prosecute the case for the Commissioner of Police (COP) in the charge No MUB/6C/2018.

While awaiting the further action or advice of the D.P.P., the Respondent's Counsel applied to the High Court, for the bail of the Respondent, on 7/6/2018. The Respondent's Counsel, B.O. Mgbenulu Esq (who appeared for the Respondent at the Magistrate Court), however, opposed the appearance of K.A. Nwakuche Esq for the Commissioner of Police (Appellant) at the High Court, saying that the fiat issued to the Appellant's Counsel by the Hon. Attorney General was to prosecute the charge at the Magistrate's Court and did not extend to prosecute this case in the High Court; that the fiat was in respect of the matter at the Magistrate's Court in Charge No MUB/6C/2018.

???Holding on the objection, the High Court refused the appearance of K.A. Nwackuche Esq for the Commissioner of Police (Appellant). Dissatisfied, the Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

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

1) Whether the trial Court had jurisdiction to hear and determine the objection to the appearance of a private Legal Practitioner with a fiat before him?

2) Whether the trial Court was right when he  came to the conclusion that the Prosecutor needed re-validation of fiat and evidence to show he had the authority of the Attorney General to prosecute a criminal charge before him ?
On the whole, the Court found merit in the appeal and accordingly allowed same. The decision of the High Court was therefore set aside. The case was remitted to the Learned Chief Judge of Imo State to be assigned to another Judge, to take the Bail Application.

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