IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA HOLDEN AT LAGOS
CITATION: (1982) 7 S.C. (REPRINT) 1
ATANDA FATAYI- WILLIAMS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA
GEORGE S. SOWEMIMO JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT
AYO G. IRIKEFE, JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT
MOHAMMED BELLO JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT
CHUKWUNWEIKE IDIGBE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT
AUGUSTINE NNAMANI JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT
MUHAMMADU L. UWAIS JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT
JOACHIM S. NGUEMA APPELLANT
THE STATE RESPONDENT
A. FATAYI-WILLIAMS, CJN.: Speaking for myself, this appeal is a complete waste of time. The conviction of the appellant of the offences charged are amply supported by the evidence which the trial Judge accepted. I am not, therefore, surprised that his appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal was dismissed.
No submission of any substance was made before us at the hearing of the further appeal to this court. The appeal is, in my view, completely devoid of any merit; the complaint of absence of a fair hearing in the High Court being utterly baseless, the appeal is accordingly dismissed in its entirety. The conviction and sentences passed on the appellant in the High Court of Imo State sitting at Owerri are therefore affirmed.
G. S. SOWEMIMO, JSC.: The point raised on the basis of the Constitution was that the appellant had no fair hearing. The basis for this was that disclosure was made of his previous conviction. In arguing this appeal it became obvious that it was not part of the prosecutions case to prove previous conviction. But that the accused himself in his statement volunteered a conviction.
In the circumstances, it is difficult to hold the prosecution responsible for what the accused himself has voluntarily done. There is no merit whatsoever on this ground of denying the accused fair hearing and as such the appeal is dismissed.
A. G. IRIKEFE, JSC.: I agree with the judgment just read by the learned Chief Justice of Nigeria. I agree further that there is no merit in any of the complaints made by the appellant?s counsel. None of the said complaints is borne out by the printed record. Consequently, we did not see any justification for calling upon the learned counsel representing the State.
I agree therefore that the appeal lacks substance and would dismiss it. Appeal dismissed. Conviction and sentence affirmed.
M. BELLO, JSC.: I agree the appeal is devoid of merit and it should be dismissed. The evidence is so overwhelming that the appellant was a quack and undertook to perform such hazardous operation which resulted in the death of the deceased. I am convinced the court of Appeal rightly dismissed his appeal against his convictions. I hereby dismiss his appeal.
C. IDIGBE JSC.: After listening to learned counsel for the appellant, I am convinced that there is absolutely no merit in this appeal. I cannot conceive of a fairer trial in a criminal trial than that given to the appellant in these proceedings. The evidence shows quite clearly that the appellant, if he was a qualified medical practitioner - and of which there is no iota of evidence - was, indeed, reckless and negligent in the manner of his treatment of the deceased. In regard to the surgical operation for inguinal hernia on the deceased, there was abundant evidence that he was reckless in cursu and in the post-handling of it. If the trial Judge were not fair, he could rightly have added in his judgment that appellant does not deserve to be registered as a practitioner. I agree with the learned Chief Justice that this appeal be dismissed and it is hereby dismissed.
A. NNAMANI, JSC.: I agree with the learned Chief Justice that there is no merit in this appeal and that it ought to be dismissed. The main complaint of the appellant was of a violation of Section 33 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979. I cannot see how this section which provides for presumption of innocence has been violated in relation to the appellant. Looking at the totality of the trial, I do hold too that the appellant had a fair trial. The disclosure of the appellants previous conviction for practising medicine without being registered with the Medical Council came at the stage when the court was considering the question of grant of bail to the appellant and did not prejudice the rest of the trial. The learned trial Judge fully and fairly evaluated the evidence in the case and the appellant was, in my view, properly convicted. The Federal Court of Appeal considered all the grounds of appeal and dismissed appellants appeal. The appeal is dismissed. The conviction and sentence passed on the appellant are hereby affirmed.
M. L. UWAIS, JSC.: I agree with the learned Chief Justice of Nigeria that there is no merit in this appeal. The trial of the appellant was fair and the evidence against him was overwhelming. Accordingly the appeal is dismissed and the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal is affirmed.
A. B. C. Iketuonye, (with him, F. M. Iketuonye), for the Appellant.
J. C. Njoku, D. P. P., Imo State, for the Respondent.