James Ibori Takes UK Government To Court

Ex-Governor James Onanefe Ibori is ready do battle with the British government and has taken the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, in a bid to quash his conviction by a London court.

The European court received the attestation papers filed in this respect on April 16, 2019.

Ibori’s appeal foundation, rests on the fact that Britain disobeyed its own laws in a rush to get him convicted. His counsel argued inter alia: “This application concerns an unusual provision of United Kingdom law: s17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 20 (RIPA).

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.”

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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 later guilty plea, defective.

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The conversation around the case is that Ibori went on appeal after pleading guilty. However, his counsel said in the appeal papers that he had pleaded guilty to criminal offences but subsequently applied for permission to appeal his convictions in the 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 counsel said in the case filed at the ECHR that at one of the court’s sittings, “Ms. Sasha Wass (QC), who had previously been instructed to prosecute the applicant (Ibori), sent a note (‘the Wass Note’) to the Court of Appeal. Ibori’s appeal was based on the fact: that identified corrupt British police officers were responsible for the conduct of the case against him; that they deliberately withheld prosecution evidence, which, had it been disclosed at the correct time, would have prevented any guilty plea; that the prosecution failed to follow the legally required RIPA procedure as stipulated in British law.

In the face of these facts, the Court of Appeal ruled against him and went further to refuse him leave to bring an appeal on the case they had just determined. This piece of legal gymnastics thus denied Ibori access to the British Supreme Court.


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