Two employees of Barewa Pharmaceutical Limited, producer of the killer baby teething mixture, My Pikin, who are serving seven-year jail terms for the sale of the killer medicine have asked the Supreme Court to grant them bail, pending the determination of their appeal.
The conviction was delivered in a judgement by retired Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court in Lagos on May 17, 2013 and was affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Lagos on December 31, 2013.
The convicts, Adeyemo Abiodun and Ebele Eromosele, had filed 19 grounds notice of appeal before the Supreme Court, seeking an order setting aside the Court of Appeal judgment.
Part of the grounds of the appeal before the Supreme Court was that the justices of the Court of Appeal failed to review Justice Okeke’s “erroneous analysis of the evidence tendered” by the prosecution witnesses.
The appellants also contended that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was a nullity “for not containing the written opinion of one of the justices at the time it was delivered”.
They also argued that the Court of Appeal relied on an abandoned and struck out notice of appeal to determine the appellant’s appeal, rather than the appellant’s rightful notice of appeal.
One of the convicts, Eromesele, through his lawyer, Oghenero Ideh, in his application dated October 27, 2014, asked the Supreme Court for bail on the grounds of ill health, saying that he was not being properly treated with the facilities available in the prison.
He also argued that he “stands a strong possibility of success and the respondent (the federal government) will not be prejudiced if the reliefs sought in this application are granted”.
He said having compiled the records of appeal in diligent prosecution of the appeal, and in view of his ill health, he was of the view that it was in the interest of justice if he is admitted to bail, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Justice Muhammad Muntaka-Coommassie-led Supreme Court panel on Thursday fixed the various applications by the appellants for hearing.
The Court of Appeal had in its judgment delivered by Justice Dauda Bage, affirmed the seven years sentence passed on the convicts by the trial court, but reversed the order of winding up and forfeiture made by the court.
Okeke of the Federal High Court had ruled that Barewa Pharmaceutical Company Limited, producer of the killer mixture, be forfeited to the federal government.
Okeke convicted the two persons and the company only for the sale of the medicine, but said he could not convict them for the manufacture and the adulteration of the drug because the prosecution was unable to adduce sufficient evidence to prove the allegations.
The National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which prosecuted the convicts at the trial court, had alleged that My Pikin caused the death of over 80 children in the country.