The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has upheld application for post-conviction bail by the Head of Genesis Parish of Celestial Church of Christ, Evangelist Israel Ogundipe.
A three-man panel of the court granted Ogundipe bail on the ground of his “serious health conditions.”
The justices held the bail subsists pending the determination of Ogundipe’s appeal challenging his two-year jail term for defrauding a United Kingdom-based woman of N11 million.
A Lagos State High Court convicted and sentenced the televangelist last November, of defrauding Mrs. Olaide Williams-Oni, following a trial that began in 2011.
Justice Olabisi Akinlade found the clergyman guilty of two of the seven counts of obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, unlawful conversion of property and forgery.
She dismissed the remaining five for lack of evidence.
Akinlade ordered Ogundipe to pay the complainant N11m, which he illegally obtained from her.
But, dissatisfied, the convict, through his counsel, Mr. Babatunde K. Ogala, SAN, approached the appellate court for bail pending appeal and an application to quash the conviction.
Ogala argued the televangelist was diabetic, could no longer follow a strict diet and the constant specialised medical attention in custody, which had taken a toll on his health made him “gaunt in appearance.”
He stated, among others, that prior to his incarceration, Ogundipe was suffering from hypertension, peptic ulcer and unending malaria which had worsened his health challenges since his November 18 conviction.
Delivering the lead ruling Justice Abudullhai Muhammed Bayero held: “There are criteria for granting a convict bail. These include that the applicant must be a first time offender or having a serious health conditions.
“The applicant seeking bail pending appeal before the court is a first time offender and he has also shown to court that he is having hypertension, peptic ulcer, unending malaria and diabetic, which are serious health conditions.
“He is consequently, admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million with two surties in like sum. The surties must have landed property on Lagos Island with original Certificate of Occupancy from the Lagos State Government.
“The sureties are to deposit these documents along with their passport photographs with the Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal.
Credit THE PUNCH