APPEAL COURT STRUCK OUT SUSPENDED CJN APPEAL AGAINST CCT
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has struck out the appeal filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, challenging the judgement which ordered him to step aside.
A three-man panel led by Justice Stephen Adah on Friday held that the appeal had been spent and the substantive suit had been heard and concluded at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The appeal court ruled that there was no need to go into the merit of the interlocutory appeal challenging the ex-parte order of the CCT which ordered Justice Onnoghen to step aside as the CJN.
On the appeal challenging the judgement of the Tribunal delivered on February 13, the appeal court held that there was no record of the said order before it.
It added that as a result of no record of the said proceedings, a decision cannot be entered.
The court, thereafter, struck out the appeal.
Justice Onnoghen had appealed the motion ex-parte by the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, which ordered him to step aside as the CJN pending the determination of his trial.
According to him, the order of the Tribunal was procured behind his back when parties had already joined issues and when the prosecutor had on January 22 told the CCT that the order would be sought on the next adjourned date.
Similarly, the court in a unanimous decision dismissed the appeal filed by Justice Onnoghen, challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear the charges brought against him.
It held that the issue of jurisdiction was not tenable because of Section 396(2), 221 and 306, which does not allow for a stay of proceedings in a criminal trial.
According to the appeal court, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) has allowed for the continuation of cases while certain appeals are made.
In a unanimous decision, the court has also dismissed Justice Onnoghen’s appeal challenging the refusal of the Tribunal to be bound by the orders of the Federal High Court and Industrial Court to halt his trial.
It held that while the Tribunal erred in its decision to speedily ignore the orders, the stay of proceedings cannot be granted in interlocutory applications relying on Section 306 of the ACJA.