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Delta Court Jails Man For Life, Sentences Another To 15 Years Imprisonment For Rape

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By Onoriode Etatsemi

The High Court of Justice, Delta State sitting at Asaba and presided over by Honourable Justice Onome Marshal-Umukoro, has convicted and sentenced a thirty-five year old man, Idris Hassan (m), 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 22nd day of August, 2022 had unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor aged 8 years 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 the tendered confessional statement of the Defendant.

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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 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 v. Peace Nigeria (first defendant) and Goodness Ezekiel (second defendant), presided over by Honourable Justice O F. Enenmo, on Wednesday, 11th day of July 2023, discharged and acquits the first defendant (Peace Nigeria) and sentenced the second defendant (Goodness Ezekiel) to fifteen (15) years imprisonment with hard labour for offence of rape.

The defendants were arraigned before the Kwale high court on the 7th day of September 2021. The first defendant, (Peace Nigeria) was arraigned on a three-count charge of, aiding, abetting and procuring another person to commit a felony to wit: 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 this proceeding.

The defendants gave evidence in defence of this case and did not call any witness in support of their case.

The first defendant (Peace Nigeria) told the court that she knows the survivor, that she is her neighbour and that her father used to drive her out of the house because he cannot fend for her, that the survivor’s father asked her to be his girlfriend and she refused. That is why he connived with the daughter to frame her in this case.

The second defendant (Goodness Ezekiel) told the court that, he knows the first defendant, (Peace Nigeria) who is his proposed fiancée. He denied his confessional extrajudicial statement.

In cross examination, he admitted that, he had sexual intercourse with the survivor while his fiancée was asleep.

Delivering his judgement, Hon Justice O. F. Enemo found the first defendant not guilty of the two-count charge brought against her. On the other hand, the second defendant (Goodness Ezekiel) 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 fifteen years imprisonment with hard labour.

Speaking to newsman after judgements, Mrs. P. U. Akamagwuna l, Director, Sexual Offences, commended the judges for a well delivered judgements, stating that the ministry of justice will continue to uphold the zero-tolerance policy and continue the prosecution, naming and shaming of all sex offenders in the State and its territory.

The convicts Idris Hassan and Goodness Ezekiel have been registered in the Delta State sex offenders register and their details uploaded to the national database.

This is in line with the provisions of the Violence Against Prohibition Persons Laws of Delta State, 2020.

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