FORGERY CASE: APPEAL COURT AQUITS OLAIDE IBRAHIM
Published by Streetwise Media
Following the seemingly erroneous judgement as it were; of the High Court of Lagos State of Nigeria in the media celebrated charge No: ID /3752c/17, between THE STATE OF LAGOS VERSUS OLAIDE IBRAHIM, delivered on the 9th day of October, 2020 wherein the Appellant (Olaide Ibrahim) was convicted of the offences of forgery and forcible entry but discharge of the offence of criminal damage to property. (With regards to the ownership of a property situated at No. 2 Baba Yusuf Close, Alausa, Ikeja ,Lagos)
The Appellant, Olaide Ibrahim who apparently was discontented with what appeared to be a miscarriage of justice in her case, had in agreement with her counsel ,Gbenga Ojo approached the Court of Appeal Lagos, to seek proper justice. They filed in an Appeal on 2/11/2020.
The Respondent Attorney, in a counter motion, also, filed in a Preliminary objection to the Appeal, it was however set aside, based on the superior argument of the defense counsel.
After a detailed study of the case, the lead Judge, in the Appeal, Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada drew out series of faults in the judgement of the lower court , for example, the Honourable Judge did pointed out that: ” In this case, the Respondent tendered Exhibit 12 as the authentic deed of assignment while Exhibit 2 was tendered as forged document.
In Exhibit 12 Dr. Olufemi Osanyintolu is the Assignee ,whereas in Exhibit 2 Dr. Olufemi Osanyintolu and Olaide Ibrahim were described as Assignees.
The learned counsel to the Appellant, relying on Section 135 of the Evidence Act, contended that the trial court totally left out the consideration of crucial issue of whether the Appellant was able to cast doubt in the case for the Prosecution which doubt ought to be resolved in favour of the Appellant”.
Furthermore, the lead Judge observed that ” for example, the Prosecution listed Musa Yusuf as a witness to testify that he and his father did not sign Exhibit 2. That the signature of his father and himself were forged on Exhibit 2. The State refused to call him as a witness, the defence called him and he testified on Oath that he signed Exhibit 2.
On Exhibit 12 submitted in evidence by Dr. Osanyintolu , Musa Yusuff stated that his father and himself did not sign it.
There is also a Surveyor who prepared Exhibit 2 and 12. He was listed by the State as a witness to testify that he did not prepare Exhibit 2. This witness was also not called by the State, but he testified for the defendant and he confirmed to have prepared the two survey plans. I.e. He prepared the survey in Exhibit 2 first, in joint names of the Prosecution and Appellant after which the Complainant came back and asked him to prepare another survey in his name alone.
The question that comes to mind at this juncture is, can we say the survey plan was forged by the Appellant. I don’t think so.
Furthermore, the lawyer who prepared Exhibit 2, Adedamola Adepegba was listed as a witness for the State to testify that he did not prepare Exhibit 2, but the State did not allow him.
The head of Police team that concluded the investigation was listed by the State to give evidence on Police investigation. He was not called, but he testified for the the defence against the State.
The lead Judge, Justice Jimi Olukayode Bada, haven studied the case of the lower court thoroughly, drew his conclusion.
“The conclusion to be drawn from the analysis above is that, the testimonies of these witnesses created doubt in the case of the Prosecution but were not taken into consideration in the determination of the case.
“In this appeal, there is no evidence by all the Prosecution witnesses that all the five signatures on Exhibit 2 were forged. The DW2 and DW3 removed totally the possibility of the defendant forging Exhibit 2. It is fatal to the case of the Prosecution.
Consequent upon the foregoing, I am of the view that offence of “forgery” was not proved against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
Issue Numbers 1and2 are hereby resolved in favour of the Appellant and against the Respondent.
There is merit in this appeal and it is allowed.
The judgement of the Trial Court in Charge No: ID/3752c/17: Between: THE STATE OF LAGOS VERSUS OLAIDE IBRAHIM delivered on the 9th day of October, 2020 and the sentence passed on the Appellant are hereby set aside. In its place, the Appellant is discharged and acquitted on the charges of “forgery” and “forcible entry” . Fines paid (If any) muse be refunded to the Appellant within 30 days from today. Appeal Allowed”
Justice Folashade Ayodeji Ojo, in her ruling, frowned at the manner at which the lower court dispensed justice in the case, said she had the benefit of reading in draft, the lead judgment delivered by the lead judge, Jimi Olukayode Bada, JCA. “The Appellant, Olaide Ibrahim was arraigned, tried and convicted for the offence of forgery and forcible entry. A careful perusal of the printed Record however revealed that evidence adduced in Appellant’s defence was not properly evaluated by the trial court.” She pointed out some instances in the judgement of the trial court, where evidences of the Appellant were subverted. “For instance, the Appellant who was alleged to have forged a Deed of Assignment (Exhibit 2) called evidence of persons who signed the document. The signature of the defence witnesses are on Exhibit 2. The evidences of these witnesses punctured the allegation of forgery made against the Appellant. On the other allegation of forcible entry, the learned trial judge, Justice Ipaye, in her judgment, found there was no evidence that there was struggle to gain entry into the property in issue. Having so found, he turned round to conclude that the Appellant forcibly entered the same property. He cannot do that” She quipped. While rounding up on the case, Justice Ojo posited that ” It is glaring from the evidences adduced by the Appellant’s witnesses particularly DW2 and DW3, that there are missing gaps in the Prosecution’s case. The effect of this is that the evidence of the Prosecution is inadequate to convict the Appellant. The Prosecution failed to prove the case against the Appellant beyond reasonable doubt. She is therefore entitled to be given the benefit of the doubt.
For this reason and the more detailed reasons in the lead judgement, I too allow this appeal and set aside the judgement of the trial court. I abide by the consequential orders contained in the lead judgement. ” She affirmed.
Justice Abba Belli Mohammed in his ruling also pointed out the elementary principle of evidence, which states that, in a criminal trial, the Prosecution has the burden of establishing the guilt of the Defendanr beyond reasonable doubt. “In the lead judgement just deliveredby my learned brother, Jimi Olukayode Bada,JCA, he has succinctly x-rayed the evidence and graphically shown how the learned trial judge had left out some part of evidence given by witnesses who were listed by the Respondent but who ended up giving evidence in favour of the Appellant, and how the failure to evaluate such evidence had led to a perverse conclusion and occasioned miscarriage of justice…” He went further to conclude that ” it is in concurrence with the lead judgement that I join in allowing this appeal. I also set aside the judgement of the trial court and discharge and aquitaine the Appellant of the offences of forgery and forcible entry . I abide by the consequential order made in the lead judgement ” He concluded.