Former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye has asked the Supreme Court to reverse his conviction or reduce his 10-year jail term slammed against him by the Court of Appeal.
His lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), made the plea yesterday at the hearing of his appeal.
Agabi, after adopting his written argument, prayed the court to allow his client’s appeal and set aside the former governor’s conviction and sentence.
The former Attorney General of the Minister of Justice (AGF) argued that Dariye’s conviction was speculative and urged the court to show mercy on him.
He added: “Here is a man sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Ten years is more than a lifetime for some people. You should show him mercy.”
Lawyer to the respondent, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the concurrent findings of the two lower courts.
Jacobs contended that a public servant was not better than the common man in the eyes of the law.
A five-man panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Mary Odili, after entertaining arguments from lawyers to parties, adjourned till March 21, 2021, for ruling.
Dariye is, by his appeal, praying the Supreme Court to upturn the November 16, 2018 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years for diverting public funds estimated at N1.162 billion while he was governor.
A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Stephen Adah, in its decision, upheld an earlier judgment by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), delivered on June 12, 2018.
The trial court convicted Dariye on 15 counts relating to the offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation, contained in the 23-count charge on which he was tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Appeal Court faulted the trial court for convicting Dariye on counts 12 and 23, which it said the prosecution did not prove.
It also faulted the trial court for imposing the maximum sentences on both offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation.
The Appeal Court reduced the 14-year sentence for the offence of criminal breach of trust to 10 years, and reduced the two-year sentence for criminal misappropriation to one year.
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