The High Court of Justice in Delta State, presided over by Honourable Justice Onome Marshal-Umukoro, has convicted and sentenced a 35 year- old man, Idris Hassan to life imprisonment for the offence of rape.
The defendant was arraigned before the court on a one count charge of rape, punishable under Section 218 of the Criminal Code Law Cap C21 Vol. 1 Laws of Delta State of Nigeria, 2006.
The defendant was alleged to have on August 22, 2022 had unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor, aged 8years, where the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The prosecution, led by Mrs Patricia Uche Akamagwuna, Director Sexual Offences, Domestic Violence and Childs’ Rights Unit in the Delta State Ministry of Justice, called six witnesses, and tendered confessional statement of the defendant.
The prosecution told the court that the survivor was at home with her two elder siblings when the defendant, who is a gate man to their neighbour, lured her to come and “take biscuits”.
When she got there, the defendant allegedly forced himself on her.
The survivor’s neighbour caught the defendant in the act and he was subsequently arrested by men of the Nigerian Police ‘B’ Division, Asaba.
The defendant in his defence denied the charge and retracted the confessional statement, stating that there was no sexual contact between him and the survivor.
Delivering his judgement, Honourable Justice Onome Marshal-Umukoro held that he believed the evidence of the prosecution, and that the prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt.
The court thereafter convicted and sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment
In a related development, another High Court in Delta State, sitting at Kwale Criminal Division, with charge number HCK/31c/2022 between The State, Peace Nigeria (first defendant) and Goodness Ezekiel (second defendant), presided over by Honourable Justice Enenmo discharged and acquited the first defendant (Peace Nigeria) and sentenced the second defendant (Goodness Ezekiel) to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour for offence of rape.
The defendants were arraigned before the Kwale High Court on September 7, 2021.
The first defendant, (Peace Nigeria) was arraigned on a three-count charge of aiding, abetting and procuring another person to commit a felony, rape, contrary to section 4(3) and punishable under section 4(1) of the Violence Against Persons Laws of Delta State, 2020.
The second defendant, Goodness Ezekiel, was arraigned on a one count charge of rape, punishable under section 4(1) of the Violence Against Persons Laws of Delta State, 2020.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The prosecution, led by (Mrs) Ejovwokwe Arhuere Oghorodje, a Deputy Director in the Minisry of Justice, told the court that the second defendant, Goodness Ezekiel, had carnal knowledge of the victim without her consent in the presence of the first defendant, Peace Nigeria.
The prosecution prove his case by direct oral evidence of its four witnesses, and a confessional statements of the defendants and a medical report of the survivor, admitted in the proceeding.
The defendants gave evidence in defence of the case and did not call any witness in support of their claims.
The first defendant, Peace Nigeria, told the court that she knew the survivor, that she was her neighbour and that her father used to drive her out of the house because he could not fend for her, that the survivor’s father asked her to be his girlfriend and she refused.
He added that it was the reason he connived with the daughter to frame her in up the case.
The second defendant Goodness Ezekiel told the court that he knew the first defendant, Peace Nigeria, who was his proposed fiancée, he denied his confessional extrajudicial statement.
In a cross examination, he admitted that he had sexual intercourse with the survivor while his fiancée was asleep.
Delivering his judgement, Hon Justice Enemo found the first defendant not guilty of the two-count charge brought against her.
On the other hand, the second defendant was found guilty of the offence of rape contrary to section 3(1) and punishable under section 4(1) of the Violence Against Persons Law of Delta State, 2020.
The court thereafter sentenced the second defendant to 15 years imprisonment with hard Labour