Man Bags 10 Years Jail Term For Indecently Assaulting Neighbour’s 13-Yr-Old Daughter


Kemisola Oye 

A Lagos State Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a man, John Owiku, to 10 years in prison for indecent treatment of a child and indecent practices.

Justice Rahman Oshodi, on Friday, delivered the judgment after he had convicted the defendant who pleaded guilty to a two-count amended charge brought by the prosecution.

Justice Oshodi expressed his displeasure at the fact that the court had spent four years conducting a rape trial before the prosecutor, Amanda Demechi-Asagba, and defence counsel, Peter Imhanguezogie, struck a plea bargain deal for the defendant.

Owiku’s plea bargain with the state led to the amendment from an initial one-count charge of rape contrary to Section 258 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State 2015, to the two-count charge of indecent treatment of a child and indecent practices contrary to sections 135 and 136 of the same law.

Whereas a defendant found guilty of violating Section 258 of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State 2015 is liable to a sentence of life imprisonment, a violation of sections 135 and 136 of the Lagos State Criminal Law bears a sentence of seven years and three years respectively.

The judge asked the defendant whether he understood the contents of his guilty plea and the obligation of the court to give out the maximum sentences that both charges carry, and Owiku replied in the affirmative. 

Justice Oshodi thereafter held that: “I hereby convict the defendant under sections 135 and 136 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015”

Before the judge sentenced the convict, he asked him whether he had anything to say to the court, to which he pleaded for mercy and apologised to the survivor and her family.

Owiku said, “I have learned a lesson – and a lot. Please, temper justice with mercy. I apologise to the victim and her family.”

The defence counsel, Imhanguezogie, in his allocutus, told the court: “The defendant is remorseful. He is a breadwinner who has been incarcerated since 2018.”

He pleaded with the court to be lenient in sentencing the convict.

On the other hand, the prosecutor, Demechi-Asagba, spoke to the principle of zero tolerance of rape alongside her appeal to the court to temper justice with mercy.

She said, “Soon, we will be opposing plea bargains. Zero tolerance is zero tolerance. We must protect our girls.”

Demechi-Asagba told the court that the original reason for the plea bargain was because the knowledge of the law on rape was not widespread, but that with increased awareness, the state will be pushing for the full application of the law.

Earlier in the proceeding, Justice Oshodi held that the convict was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl (name withheld) in April 2018.

He held that the survivor was clear in her evidence when she told the court that on the first occasion of the rape, which happened in the convict’s house, she experienced pain and had to clean off blood and a thick substance from her vagina.

The survivor also told the court that the convict, who is a residential neighbour, had repeatedly raped her afterwards and had given her something to drink after the last three times he forcefully had sex with her.

Justice Oshodi held that the convict was arrested in June 2018, after the mother of the survivor noticed that the body of her daughter (the survivor) was changing which led to a discovery that she was pregnant.

He said, “The mother of the survivor took her daughter to run tests where the survivor tested positive for pregnancy.”

The judge observed that the prosecution brought four witnesses, including the survivor and her father and the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), while the defence brought four witnesses as well.

Justice Oshodi sentenced the convict to seven years on the first count of indecent treatment of a child and to three years on count two for indecent practices.

He said, “The sentences are to run concurrently. I, therefore, sentence you to 10 years imprisonment. Your sentence will be counted from the date of your arrest in 2018.”

The judge ordered the convict to be returned to the Ikoyi Custodial Facility and for his name to be included in the Lagos State Sexual Offenders Register.


Eighteen-Eleven Media

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