January 13, 2017 — The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on December 9, 2016 delivered judgement in favour of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). The NCC had in 2013 filed Suit No. CA/L/350/13 (Nigerian Copyright Commission & ORS v. Musical Copyright Society of Ltd/GTR & 7 ORS) appealing the judgement of Justice Yunusa in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1163/12 . MCSN had filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit against the NCC .
The Court of Appeal set aside the judgement of the Federal High Court.
The Five (5) grounds of appeal raised by the Commission are as follows:
- That the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the position of the law is, that for a suspect to be arrested and for the arrest to be valid, there must be a valid warrant of arrest or an order duly issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in the absence of which it can be concluded that the Respondent acted rashly without following due process of law.
- That the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the items seized from the Respondents were seized without a valid search warrant and therefore the seizure was unlawful.
- That the learned trial judge erred in law when he ordered an immediate release of all the equipment, files, documents and all materials seized from the office of the Respondents by the Appellants when such items are subjects of pending criminal trials.
- That the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the activities of the Respondents are legal and constitutional.
- That the learned trial court erred in law when it granted an order that the continuous detention, harassment, intimidation, threat and torture of the Respondents is unlawful and a breach of their fundamental rights.
The Court of Appeal in its judgement held that Copyright Inspectors from the Nigerian Copyright Commission do not need any warrant of arrest from the Court to carry out arrest of the respondent and to seize the incriminating materials.
The court further dismissed the argument raised in the Cross Appeal by the MCSN that the High Court erred in law by not awarding damages to them after holding that their fundamental rights has been infringed.
Source: Nigerian Copyright Commission