Dilemma of Actress, Ex Beauty Queen Ibinabo Fiberesima

LAGOS – A Lagos High Court yesterday ordered the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Marvel Akpoyibo, to immediately arrest a popular actress and former beauty queen, Miss Ibinabo Fiberesima.
Fiberesima was on February 20, sentenced to five years imprisonment for manslaughter following the death of a medical doctor, Mr. Suraj Giwa.
Presiding judge, Justice Deborah Oluwayemi directed Akpoyibo to effect Fiberesima’s arrest and lock her up in Ikoyi Prisons from where she must be brought to court next Tuesday.
The court refused to hear the former beauty queen’s application for a stay of execution of her jail sentence until she appears in court and frowned at her flouting of the judgment.The court also frowned at the attitude of Ibinabo’s counsel, Kamasuode Wodu, and the Ministry of Justice, Lagos State, represented by the State’s Director of Public Prosecution, Olabisi Ogungbesan, accusing them of encouraging Ibinabo to flagrantly disobey court order.
It, however, refused to hear an application brought by counsel to Ibinabo seeking an order of the court staying execution of the said judgment pending the final determination of the appeal.
It also threatened to extend the jail sentence by six months should she fail to appear in court on the next adjourned date.“If the applicant is not here, I cannot hear the application and if she is not here on the next adjourned date, I may be compelled to add six months to her jail term,” the judge said.
She also turned down a medical certificate brought by Fiberesima’s counsel, Mr. Kemasuode Wodu, to the effect that the convicted actress was receiving treatment in a hospital in Port Harcourt.
The judge rejected the certificate on the ground that it was not addressed to the court, but addressed “to whom it may concern.” The court is not ‘to whom it may concern,” the judge said,  wondering why the state government had not yet arrested the actress since the day she was sentenced. It regretted that several innocent persons were wallowing in prison custody while a convicted person walks about freely.

The judge further threatened that if Fiberesima is not produced in court on the next adjourned date, she would order the police commissioner in the state where she is receiving the purported treatment to arrest and keep her in custody there. Justice Olawayemi, obviously angry that Fiberesima was not behind bars, said: “I have never seen a case where a person is convicted and sentenced to prison but still walks around freely.”
“The court must be obeyed. The judiciary must be respected. Legal practitioners must take the judiciary as a serious business; so when an order is made, it is the duty of legal practitioners to ensure that the order is obeyed.“This is contempt of my cour. The applicant is already convicted and is not supposed to be anywhere except the prison yard, so her not being here is contempt of my court. How can a convicted person be asking for my consent when she has not obeyed my order? She’s entitled to an appeal, but the proper thing to do is to obey the order.
I wonder what the state government is doing for not arresting her.” There are lots of people without offence and this is a convicted person enjoying life. The applicant’s counsel would be allowed to move his application (for stay of execution) when the convict is brought to court.”
Justice Oluwayemi had, on February 20, sentenced Fiberesima to five years imprisonment for manslaughter in the death of a medical doctor, Mr. Suraj Giwa.
The court held in the judgment that the N100,000 fine imposed by the lower court on Fiberesima was tantamount to judicial recklessness. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, had in 2005 charged Fiberesima to the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Tapa, on a two-count charge of dangerous and reckless driving on the Epe Expressway, Lagos that led to Giwa’s death. The jail sentence followed an appeal by the Lagos State Government against the verdict of the lower court.

Source – Thisdayonline

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