By Bolanle Lawal
The Court of Appeal in Ado-Ekiti, on Thursday overturned the one year imprisonment imposed on 75-year-old Azeez Apempe.
Apempe had challenged his conviction by a magistrates’ court, which was affirmed by an Ekiti High Court, for allegedly giving false information to the police.
The magistrates’ court and the high court convicted Apempe of the charge preferred against him by the police.
Apempe reported about a case of theft on his farm.
Justice Ahmad Belgore, who delivered the judgment on behalf of the three-member appeal panel, set aside the verdicts of the two lower courts.
Belgore resolved all issues in favour of Apempe and discharged and acquitted the septuagenarian.
He described the trial and conviction of Apempe by the lower courts as a nullity.
Apempe, a popular printer and politician, had reported one Sunday Akoe and his family members to the police for alleged theft of his yams and destroying the farm in the process.
He had in his statement of claim, averred that the police turned him from being the complainant to an accused, and charged him to court for giving false information.
The magistrates’ court in arriving at its judgment, held that the appellant’s statement at the police station could not be found.
Apempe was subsequently sentenced to a one-year imprisonment or N5,000 option of fine, which he paid.
He appealed to the high court which also affirmed the one-year imprisonment by the magistrates’ court.
At the Court of Appeal, his counsel, Mr Magnus Ejelonu, argued that the two lower courts erred in law by entering judgment against the septuagenarian.
Ejelonu contended that: “His statement at the police station that was missing should be resolved in his favour.’’