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Naira Abuse: Bobrisky goes on appeal, questions conviction

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The convicted and jailed cross-dresser, Idris Olanrewaju Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, has instituted a Notice of Appeal against his conviction on a four-count of Naira abuse.

The socialite in his Notice of Appeal filed by his counsel, Bimbo Kusanu, is urging the Court of Appeal to set aside the six months imprisonment sentence imposed on him and replace same with the option of a fine of N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) on each of the counts against him.

It would be recalled that on April 12, 2024, Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, had sentenced Bobrisky, to six months imprisonment without an option of fine for abusing the Nigerian currency.

In sentencing the convict, Justice Awogboro declared that the sentencing would serve as a deterrent to others that are fond of abusing and mutilating the Naira.

Before the sentencing, Bobrisky, had on April 5, pleaded guilty to the four-count slammed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the court.

However, in his Notice of Appeal, the appellant stated that the trial court imposed the maximum sentence on him despite having no previous criminal record and conviction and when there were options to impose a lesser sentence by the provisions of the ACJA.

Bobrisky who submitted that the sentence imposed by the trial court is punitive contrary to the mandatory provisions of the ACJA on sentencing, stated that Justice Awogboro did not consider his positive antecedent of not wasting the precious judicial resources of the trial court when he pleaded guilty to the charge.

The jailed cross-dresser argued the he honoured the invitation of the respondent (the EFCC) on the first invitation during the investigation leading to the charge.

Part of the decision of the lower court complained of are, “The sentence of the lower court that imposed maximum penalty of six-months imprisonment without option of fine on the appellant who is a first time convict without previous record of criminal conviction.

“The learned trial Judge erred in law and in facts by his imposition of the maximum sentence of 6 Months imprisonment terms against the appellant without option of fine contrary to the provisions of Section 416(2) (d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015 (ACJA) that prescribed the mandatory guidelines on the trial court on imposition of sentencing after criminal conviction of a first time offender as the appellant.

“The trial court imposed the maximum sentence on the appellant who has no previous record criminal of conviction when there are options to impose a lesser sentence by the provisions of the ADCJA.

“The sentence imposed by the trial court against the appellant is punitive contrary to the mandatory provisions of the law (ACJA) on sentencing.

“The appellant has suffered miscarriage of justice by the maximum sentence imposed by the learned trial court.

“The reasons adduced by the learned trial court for the imposition of maximum punishment on the appellant which is essentially on what foreigners think of abuse of Naira, is perverse and is out of tune with the reality of what the trial court should have been considered to impose maximum punishment on the appellant.

“The intendment of the provisions of the Central Bank Act 2007 that the Appellant was charged with is for Nigerians not to tamper with Naira and not what nationals of foreign countries view about tampering with Naira.

“The trial court did not consider the positive antecedent of the appellant who did not waste the precious judicial resources of the trial court when he pleaded guilty to the charge. The appellant honoured the invitation of the respondent-Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the first invitation during the investigation leading to the charge.

“The trial court failed to exercise his discretion judiciously and judicially in sentencing the appellant, which has occasioned miscarriage of justice against the appellant.”

Therefore, he prayed to the Court of Appeal to set aside the six months maximum imprisonment sentence imposed on him and in its place impose a fine of N50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira) on each of the counts against the appellant.

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