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Man Bags 2-year Jail For Pirating Bible, Motivational Books

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Justice Musa Kurya of the Federal High Court, Lagos has convicted and sentenced a man, Anthony Okojie, to two years imprisonment for pirating the Bible and some religious books published by the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN).

Justice Kurya sent Okojie to jail after he convicted him of a one-count charge of piracy brought against him by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). The NCC had arraigned him before the court on November 26, 2013 and he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During trial, the commission told the court that it received a letter from the BSN on June 12, 2013 alleging that its products (Bibles and motivational books) were being pirated by Okojie at Sango-Ota, Ogun State.

It said it investigated the claim, among others, by making a test purchase from Okojie. On June 21, 2013, NCC operatives raided Okojie’s shop at Ojolowu Shopping Complex along Abeokuta Expressway, Sango-Ota.

They found and confiscated 376 pirated works (Bibles and motivational books) belonging to the BSN following which Okojie was arrested and arraigned. The prosecution presented three witnesses and tendered several exhibits to establish its case.

But Okojie neither put in a defence nor called any witness, rather he filed a no-case submission which was eventually dismissed by Justice Kuya. The NCC adopted its written address and Okojie’s counsel adopted his no-case submission on November 24, 2015.

In his judgment, the judge held that the accused person admitted the evidence placed before him by the prosecution and that he has no defence to put forward.

The judge ruled that “in conclusion, I am of the view that the prosecution has proved this case against the accused person beyond reasonable doubt.

“Consequently, I hereby find the convict guilty as charged and convict him accordingly.  I have listened to the plea by the convict’s counsel and I agree that the accused may not be aware of the original and/or the infringing copies, however, as the learned counsel had rightly submitted, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Taking all into consideration, I hereby sentence him to two years imprisonment with no option of fine.  The sentence is to commence from the day of arrest,” the court stated.


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