Ibori takes fight against injustice done to him to European Court of Human Rights; Appeals  London conviction       

 

Chief James Onanefe Ibori has taken his fight to reverse the injustice done to him that led to his pleading guilty in London by taking the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France in a bid to quash his conviction by the London court.

Attestation papers sighted indicate that the case was received there on April 16th, 2019.

The foundation of Ibori’s appeal according to the papers filed by his counsel, is that Britain disobeyed its own laws all in a rush to get him convicted. His  counsel argued that “1. This application concerns an unusual provision of United Kingdom law: s17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’)”.

“2. It prohibits any reference, in any proceedings, to an intercepted communication or its contents- e.g. an intercepted phone call – in circumstances in which its origin as an intercepted communication is disclosed or could be inferred. The United Kingdom is virtually unique in having such a provision: intercepted communications are used routinely as evidence in court proceedings throughout Europe and the rest of the world”.

“3. Ibori’s counsel alleged that the operation of s17 of RIPA, as applied in the highly unusual circumstances of his case, resulted in a violation of Ibori’s rights pursuant to Article 6 of ECHR”. This actually is the crux of the matter, according to Ibori’s counsel because Britain’s  failure to obey its own laws has rendered every other thing that followed, including Ibori’s guilty plea later, defective.

The conversation around the case is that Ibori went on Appeal after pleading guilty. But his counsel said in the appeal papers filed at the European Court of Human Rights that Ibori had pleaded guilty to criminal offences but subsequently applied for permission to appeal his convictions in light of the disclosure of new material. It is this “new material” which surfaced later that Ibori is predicating this appeal on.

In fact, Ibori’s counsels said in the case filed at the EU Court of Human Rights that at one of the court’s sittings, “Ms Sasha WASS QC (‘SWQC’), who had previously been instructed to prosecute the Applicant (Ibori) , sent a note to the Court of Appeal (‘the Wass Note’).

The Counsels argued further: “4.2. It was a highly unusual note because it provided information which could easily identify he source of the new material on which the Applicant’s appeal was based. However, in a reverse twist, such  disclosure is prohibited in all court proceedings by s17 of RIPA.

4.3. In response to the Wass Note, and in an effort to attempt to comply with s17 of RIPA for the remainder of the hearing, the Court of Appeal imposed ‘Ground Rules’ on the parties. This limited what the Applicant’s counsel could refer to in his submissions.

4.4. The Applicant submitted to the Court of Appeal – and submits in this application – that s17 of RIPA, combined with the ‘Ground Rules’, prevented him from properly developing his submissions before the Court of Appeal. As a result his appeal hearing was unfair.”

The above is the crux of the matter. It is the major plank on which Ibori’s case rests. Ibori appealed to the EU Court of Appeal because a London Appeal Court refused to interrogate this submission and actually ruled that the issue of what is now known as “the Wass Note” was a no-go area. This made Ibori to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights because Britain denied him his rights to fair trial – which is recognised everywhere in the free world.

It must be recalled that Ibori’s appeal was based on the following issues:

One: Identified corrupt British Police Officers responsible for the conduct of the case against him.

Two: Deliberately withheld prosecution evidence which had it been disclosed at the correct time would have prevented any guilty pleas being entered.

Three:  The fact that the prosecution failed to follow the legally required RIPA procedure as stipulated in British Law.

In the face of these facts, at the conclusion of the hearing the Court of Appeal ruled against him. In fact it went further, it refused to give him leave to bring the appeal that they had just determined.

This piece of legal gymnastics had the effect of denying Ibori  access to the British Supreme Court.

2) Deliberately withheld prosecution evidence which had it been disclosed at the correct time would have prevented any guilty pleas being entered.

3) The fact that the prosecution failed to follow the legally required RIPA procedure as stipulated in British Law.

In the face of these facts, at the conclusion of the hearing the Court of Appeal ruled against him. In fact it went further, it refused to give him leave to bring the appeal that they had just determined.

This piece of legal gymnastics had the effect of denying him access to the British Supreme Court.

Find below the paper Ibori’s lawyers filed at the European Court of Human Rights for your records.

IN THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS BETWEEN

James Onanefe IBORI

-v- UNITED KINGDOM

Application No.

Applicant

Respondent Government ADDITIONAL SUBMISSIONS ON FACTS AND EVIDENCE

FACTS

  1. This application concerns an unusual provision of United Kingdom law: s17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’).
  2. It prohibits any reference, in any proceedings, to an intercepted communication or its contents- e.g. an intercepted phone call – in circumstances in which its origin as an intercepted communication is disclosed or could be inferred. The United Kingdom is virtually unique in having such a provision: intercepted communications are used routinely as evidence in court proceedings throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
  3. The Applicant alleges that the operation of s17 of RIPA, as applied in the highly unusual circumstances of his case, resulted in a violation of his rights pursuant to Article 6 of ECHR.
  4. In summary:

4.1. The Applicant had pleaded guilty to criminal offences but subsequently applied for permission to appeal his convictions in light of the disclosure of new material. The Court of Appeal held a hearing to determine that1. application. During an adjournment of the hearing, Ms Sasha WASS QC (‘SWQC’), who had previously been instructed to prosecute the Applicant, sent a note to the Court of Appeal (‘the Wass Note’).

4.2. It was a highly unusual because it provided information from which it could be easily inferred that the source of the new material on which the Applicant’s appeal was based was, in fact, intercepted communications. Such a disclosure is prohibited in all court proceedings by s17 of RIPA.

4.3. In response to the Wass Note, and in an effort to attempt to comply with s17 of RIPA for the remainder of the hearing, the Court of Appeal imposed ‘Ground Rules’ on the parties. This limited what the Applicant’s counsel could refer to in his submissions.

4.4. The Applicant submitted to the Court of Appeal – and submits in this application – that s17 of RIPA, combined with the ‘Ground Rules’, prevented him from properly developing his submissions before the Court of Appeal. As a result his appeal hearing was unfair.

 

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