By Tobi Soniyi
Following the re-assignment of the charge filed against him to a new judge, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani -Kayode Friday withdrew his appeal at the Supreme Court on the admissibility of computer generated evidence.
Following the withdrawal of the appeal, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on the ground that it had become spent since Fani-Kayode would have to make a fresh plea before the new judge to whom the case was assigned.
The appeal was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission after the Court of Appeal held that computer generated evidence was not admissible under the old Evidence Act.
The appeal was sequel to an objection raised at the Federal High Court by counsel to Fani-Kayode, Mr. Ladi Williams (SAN) as to the admissibility of computer generated statement of accounts of the former minister. Though, this objection was sustained by the trial court, the Court of Appeal in a well-considered judgment set aside the decision of the trial court.
Whilst the matter was pending at the Supreme Court, the Evidence Act was amended and Computer-Generated Bank Statements were made admissible by Section 84 of the new Evidence Act.
At the same time, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in exercising his administrative powers transferred Justice Mohammed who was handling the trial judge from the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court to Enugu Division and the matter was therefore re-assigned to a new Judge, Justice Binta Nyako.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission through its counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, therefore, filed a motion to dismiss the appeal before the Supreme Court arguing that the appeal has become academic in that the proceedings that gave rise to the appeal no longer existed.
At the resumed hearing of the appeal yesterday, the panel of the Supreme Court, after taking oral arguments from Williams and Keyamo, concluded that the appeal had indeed become academic in that the proceedings that gave rise to the appeal had become spent.
The Supreme Court therefore directed Williams to withdraw the appeal. The appeal was subsequently dismissed for being academic, while Mr. Fani-Kayode was directed to go back to the new Judge, Justice Nyako, to face his trial.
Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned to October 10, 2012 for hearing.
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