Appeal Court Grants Freedom to  Convicted Pregnant Woman

Leyoo Ajeokun

A female convict at the Federal Correctional Center, Afao road, Adó-Ekiti , has been set free from imprisonment of four years alongside her baby, who was delivered at the Correctional Centre.

In a Landmark Judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, August 31st, 2023, the court set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, which convicted the woman to 4 years imprisonment for the offense of stealing.

The appellant was pregnant at the time the High Court verdict was delivered. She later delivered a baby inside the Correctional Centre facility.

The First Lady of Ekiti State, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, who was moved by the woman’s plight, has taken steps to ensure that the welfare of the newborn and the mother are prioritized. She also instructed her Gender Unit to ensure proper legal representation for the woman on appeal against the judgment of the High Court that convicted her.

In the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti on 31st August 2023, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court on the grounds that the Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to try the offense of stealing by virtue of Section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

The Appeal Court held that it is only the State High Court that is clothed with the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the case, hence it was left with no option than to discharge the woman from the Correctional Centre.

The Judgment reads in part:
“Upon reading the record of appeal herein… It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That the appeal hereby succeeds and it is allowed. That the judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside on the allegation of stealing in Count 2. That the Appellant is hereby discharged and acquitted on that count, and it is ordered that she be released forthwith.”

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