The Lagos state court of appeal has upheld the judgment of a Lagos High Court which sentenced star actress and former beauty Queen, Ibinabo Fiberesima to five years’ imprisonment for the death of one Dr. Giwa Suraj.
The ex-beauty queen was sentenced by Justice Deborah Oluwayemi for reckless driving which caused the death of Suraj in an auto accident along the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos.
Reports revealed that a Magistrate court of first instance had earlier handed the appellant an option of N100,000 fine for the offence but the judgment of the magistrate had been set aside by the high court, replacing the option of fine with a five-year jail term.
Dissatisfied, Fiberesima in her amended appellant brief filed by her lawyer, Nnaemeka Amaechina, urged the court to set aside the sentence and restore the decision of the Magistrate Court which sentenced her to a N100, 000 fine.
But, delivering judgment Friday, the appellate court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the High Court’s judgment.
In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Jamilu Yammama Tukur the court held that the trial Magistrate Court lacked the discretion to grant Ibinabo an option of fine after her conviction.
Justice Oluwayemi argued that Sections 28 of the Traffic Law under which Fiberesima had been convicted, did not give an option of fine.
"When a term of imprisonment is mandatory for an offence, the court cannot and should not give an option of fine."
Justice Oluwayemi insisted that the fine would not have served the purpose of justice in the case, adding that the N100,000 be returned to the appellant.