Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has reserved judgement in the appeal filled by Nollywood actress, Ibinabo Fiberesima, challenging a jail term handed her by a Lagos High Court.
Justice Deborah Oluwayemi of a Lagos High Court sentenced Ibinabo to five years imprisonment for reckless driving and causing death.
She was alleged to have recklessly driven a car, belonging to Daniel Wilson, which resulted to an auto accident along the Lekki-Epe expressway, causing the death of a medical doctor, Dr Giwa Suraj.
A Magistrate Court (court of first instance) had earlier given the appellant an option of N100, 000 fine for the offence which the former beauty queen paid instantly.
The judgment of the magistrate was, however, set aside by the High Court, which replaced the option of fine with a jail term.
Dissatisfied, Fiberesima had filed an appeal through her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, urging the court to set aside the five-year sentence. The appellate court, presided by Justice UI Ndukwe-Anyanwu, reserved judgment after counsel had adopted their written addresses.
Adopting the brief on Thursday, Amaechina argued that the Magistrate’s Court exercised its discretion properly and there was no ground to review it by the high court.
He submitted that by virtue of the Notice of Increased in Jurisdiction of Magistrates, No. 7 of 2006, the trial Magistrate could only impose a maximum of seven years imprisonment or N100, 000 fine.
He added that N100, 000 fine was the maximum limit a trial Magistrate could impose as fine and that was what it imposed on the appellant.
Counsel to Lagos State, Rotimi Odutola, argued that the law creating the offence of dangerous driving causing death provided for a term of imprisonment and noted that the trial Magistrate ought not to have exercised such arbitrary discretion as to impose N100, 000 as fine.
She submitted that the children of the deceased have been permanently deprived of the “immeasurable contributions” of their father to their lives, and therefore urged the appellate court to uphold the judgement of the Lagos High Court and dismiss the appeal.

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