Indecent assault of 3-year-old earns Welder 2-year jail
BY Sunmola Olowookere
“He explained further that there was need to establish that there had been a penetration before rape charge could be established and that where there was no penetration, it could only be termed indecent assault.”
In an age when defilement and rape of minor has become a frequent occurrence, which has become a source of concern to well meaning citizens of the society, the recent defilement of a very young girl in a popular area of the Akure metropolis has again raised the ire of the residents while the parents had sought Justice for their defiled daughter.
Following a two-year prosecution, the accused person, a welder, Ezekiel Akpan has been sentenced to two years imprisonment by a high court of Justice sitting in Akure for indecent assault of the three year old girl (name withheld) at Oke Ijebu area of Akure, Ondo
The accused who was arraigned in May, 2017 had been in police custody since October, 2016 when he was alleged to have committed the offence of indecent assault, although he was initially dragged to court on a rape charge.
While reading the judgment, Justice Samuel A. Bola said that the victim of the assault had testified before the police thus “I am in KG 1. Brother AK put a stick in my bombom. It was painful”
He said that though the medical examination points to the fact that there had been an indecent assault in the child’s private part but the testimonies and the medical report furnished by the prosecution before the court had shown that penetration was not established.
He explained further that there was need to establish that there had been a penetration before rape charge could be established and that where there was no penetration, it could only be termed indecent assault.
The accused person was said to be a tenant at the house of the victim’s grandmother where and her mother lived. The mother of the victim, One Fayoke Aro while giving evidence before the court said that the accused person raped her three-year-old daughter in their room on the fateful day after returning from a travel.
The prosecuting counsel, O.F Akeredolu was compelled to close the prosecution’s case at the next adjournment date when he could not produce the last witness.
Then the defense had opened his case by calling the defendant as the sole witness in the case.
In the witness box, the defendant said that on the 16th of October, 2016 when he was alleged to have raped the victim, he had just returned from a journey and came home to pick some materials which he will use to repair his machine which had broken down along the way.
He claimed that the grandmother of the victim and the mother had been picking quarrels with him because they demanded for another payment of rent when the current one had not lapsed.
He admitted to have seen the mother of the victim when he came to pick and claimed that he had left the house immediately.
He said on his way home after fixing the machine, he had seen one Bobola, a fellow tenant who begged him to take him to Ijapo and he obliged him.
He said that it was the tenant who took him to the police station where they took his pictures with the victim and wrote a statement for him while they asked him to sign.
He said that he had pleaded that they should allow him to call his brother but they refused.
He said that he refused to sign the statement as none of his people were there. He also claimed that he was not told the reason why he was also arrested. During cross examination, he reiterated that he had not raped anyone nor did he append his signature to any statement.
At this point, the defense counsel, Olusola Oke had objected to the admissibility of the document as it was against the Administration of Criminal Justice Law which states that the statement of any suspect must be obtained with the due representation of his choice and also on the grounds that his client denied being the maker of the document.
The prosecution reacted that his denial was not enough ground to affect the admissibility of the document and the court had subsequently admitted the statement as evidence.
After the testimony of the defense’ sole witness, the defense had closed its case.
Delivering the verdict, the presiding judge observed that the prosecution must be able to prove that there was penetration before a case of rape can be established.
He therefore found the accused guilty of only indecent assault as a case of rape could not be proven against him which he said the punishment for it is two years imprisonment and jailed the accused accordingly while ordering that his sentence be counted since the day he had been arrested at the police station.