By Agha Ibiam in London
The Royal Court of Justice on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of a former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, from the UK prison after serving half of his sentence and taking into account pre-trial detention.
Judge Juliet May (QC), who delivered the ruling, opposed the unlawful detention of the ex-governor, as the Home Office earlier took a decision not to release him.
Ibori was jailed for money laundering offences by the Southwark Crown Court in London in 2012 and served his jail term at Huntercoombe Prison in Oxfordshire.
In a chat with THISDAY, Ibori’s counsel, Mr Jonathan Chike Epele, said: “Today we won a victory at the Royal Court of Justice, London when we challenged the decision of the Home Office not to release Ibori who was due for release on the 20th of December, 2016.
“After serving his sentence, we were informed by the Home Office that he will not be released on the ground that his confiscation proceeding has not been concluded.”
He said he explained to the judge that there was no ground in law under which Ibori could be detained and the refusal of the Home Office for his refusal was unlawful.
Epele stated that the Home Office’s position was totally unreasonable and was not in consonance with any known prison, immigration or confiscation law provision.
However, he said that the judge was able to see the true position and acted with complete fairness and expediency during the emergency hearing on Wednesday.