Judge sentences senior advocate to one month imprisonment

Court convicts Nwobike of attempting to pervert the course of justice

"The evidence against the defendant is damning, the court finds that the behaviour of the defendant is unbecoming", she said.

She said, "The message to the society is that no one is above the law".

Juatice Adebiyi ordered the court to go on a short recess in order for her to prepare her sentence. "He is hereby sentenced to one month of 30 days".

He was given no option of fine.

The EFCC said Nwobike gave Ogunleye the sum of N250,000 on the same day, for her brother who secured an admission to study medicine in a U.S. university.

Mr Nwobike was first arraigned in March 2016 on a five count charge; but the charges were amended twice to 18 counts of offering gratification to a judicial officer, attempting to pervert the course of justice, and making false declaration to an EFCC officer. "He is also not guilty of the 18th count".

The judge rejected Nwobike's claim that the text message he sent to Justice Musa Kurya's registrar, Ogunleye, reading "tell him to discharge the order", was sent in error.

The court held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission proved beyond reasonable doubts that the SAN was in constant communication with some court officials to influence the assignment of his cases to preferred judges.

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The defendant admitted in his statement to the EFCC that he gave N750,000 to Justice Yunusa to assist the Judge in the treatment of his ailing mother who allegedly suffered from kidney disease.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has reacted to the conviction and sentencing of Dr Joseph Nwobike, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), to one-month in prison for perverting the course of justice.

Nwobike was convicted by the Ikeja Division of the Lagos High Court on Monday.

One of the judges he allegedly bribed is Mohammed Yunusa.

"That you Dr. Joseph Nwobike, SAN on the 28th day of September, 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally gave the sum of N 300,000 to Hon". The defendant, a senior member of member of the Bar, sent various text messages as streamed in Exhibit P21, to a registrar of the Federal High Court.

Nwobike was part of the teams that conducted Wiwa versus Shell and Re: Semira Adamu vs. Government of Belgium.

Mr Nwobike was conferred the title of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2010, after nearly 20 years of legal practice. "I pray the court tempers justice with mercy and impose a very heavy slap on the wrist".

He said: "Section 97 (3) under which you, my Lord have found the defendant guilty specified for imprisonment for two years".

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