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Court frees man accused of raping two-year-old in Lagos church

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By Sodiq Adelakun

Lagos man, Adeyemi Adejumo, who was accused of raping a two-year-old in a church, has been discharged and acquitted by Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court.

Oshodi stated that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove the charge of defilement against Adejumo beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge further added that he could not definitively establish that there was sexual intercourse between the defendant and the minor.

“I maintain that the mother was a vital witness but her failure to testify culminated in the prosecution’s circumstantial evidence narrative.

“To have a conviction, circumstantial evidence must be compelling, complete and unequivocal.

“The medical doctor (prosecution witness one) did not identify the defendant as the perpetrator and did not say that the forceful blunt penetration was by the penis of the defendant.

“The doctor admitted that no semen attributable to the defendant was harvested,” he said.

Oshodi added that the investigative police officer, who was the second prosecution witness, revealed that the defendant denied the allegation.

“The fact that he ran away from a police station is insufficient proof that he committed the crime.

“Therefore, the circumstantial evidence that the prosecution relied on is not compelling, it is not complete and it is not unequivocal,” he said.

The judge noted that Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution stated that every person charged with a criminal offence should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He said that the presumption placed the burden of proof on the prosecution, adding that the proof must be beyond reasonable doubt.

He said, “In this case, the prosecution could not prove the defilement charge beyond reasonable doubt, and it is better for nine guilty persons to go free than one innocent person to be wrongly convicted.

“Thus, while the guilty may escape today, he might not escape tomorrow, and the society has a chance in the future to settle scores with him, but when an innocent person suffers from a mistake in the execution of criminal justice, there is no real chance of reversing what has been done.

“I must, therefore, resolve the issue for determination in favour of the defendant and against the prosecution.

“I find the defendant not guilty and I acquit and discharge him.”

It was gathered that Lagos State Government, which prosecuted the case, alleged that Adejumo defiled the minor in a church during a vigil.

It presented two witnesses while the defendant and a member of the church testified for defence.

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Crime

Police arrest three, recover firearms, ammunition, motor batteries in Enugu

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The Police Command in Enugu State has arrested three suspected criminals and recovered firearms, ammunition and 15 motor batteries within Enugu metropolis.

The command’s Spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Enugu.

Ndukwe said that police operatives serving in Emene Division, in concert with law-abiding citizens, recovered a Beretta pistol with 36 rounds of 0.9mm calibre ammunition on June 16, around 7 p.m.

Ndukwe said that the firearms and ammunition were recovered from a small bush where they had been abandoned around Airport Corner, by Old Abakaliki Road, Emene in Enugu.

“The exhibits were suspected to have been abandoned by criminal elements on the hot trail of the police operatives for allegations of armed robberies,” he said.

The spokesman said that in another operation, three suspects were arrested by police operatives serving in the Awkunanaw Division in Enugu on June 7, around 2 p.m.

He said that their arrest followed the conduct of a covert operation by the operatives upon the receipt of complaints about the theft of several motor vehicle batteries at a construction site in Awkunanaw axis of Enugu.

Ndukwe said that the suspects, who were initially arrested during the act, had confessed, upon interrogation, to having stolen many batteries and sold them to another suspect who was later arrested.

“15 batteries, including those of articulated and other motor vehicles and tricycles, were recovered from them,” he said.

Ndukwe said that the suspects would be arraigned and prosecuted upon conclusion of investigations.

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Crime

Anambra police intercept alleged gun runner, recover 375 live cartridges

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The Police Command in Anambra says it has arrested 48-year-old Felix Owaya, in possession of 375 live cartridges.

SP Tochukwu Ikenga, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Onitsha on Monday.

Ikenga stated that the suspect hailed from Ika South Local Government Area of Delta.

He also stated that the police operatives attached to Fegge Division made the arrest, while on patrol along Niger Street, Onitsha on Saturday.

He added that during interrogation, the suspect confessed that he was sent by one Mr Charles Ogboma to a yet-to-be-identified man to collect the ammunition.

He explained that investigation on the matter was still ongoing.

According to him, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Nnaghe Itam, commended the operatives for their vigilance and tenacity of purpose.

Itam was quoted to have directed all the personnel in the command to sustain the tempo of crime prevention and detection in service of the people and state.

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Crime

OPHS arrests six bandits, recovers rustled cows, weapons in Plateau

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A special task force, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), has arrested six suspected bandits and recovered weapons and 47 rustled cows in Manguna, Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau.

Commander of OPSH, Maj.-Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar, disclosed this at the Eid-el-Kabir luncheon, organised for troops of the operation on Monday in Jos.

Abubakar, who doubles as the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3 Division of the Nigerian Army, Rukuba, near Jos, said that the feat followed intensified operations by personnel of the operation.

”As part of our resolve to completely eradicate banditry and criminal elements and ensure a successful farming season and security of lives and property, our intensified operations continue to yield results.

“This has led to recovery of different calibers of arms and ammunition in different parts of Plateau.

”Specifically on June 10, OPSH Tactical Team raided a suspected criminal hideout at Manguna village in Bokkos local government area and during the operation, troops recovered one G3 rifle, two revolver rifles and one magazine with rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

”We also recovered a quiver with 20 arrows and 47 herds of cattle, while a total of six bandits and cattle rustlers were captured with the rifles and ammunition,” he said.

The commander further stated that his troops also raided the Pandam forest in Qua’an Pan Local Government Area of the state and recovered various weapons and ammunition.

”Similarly on June 12, troops, acting on credible intelligence, conducted clearance operations at suspected bandits’ hideouts at Pandam forest in Qua’an.

”During the operation, troops recovered two AK-47 rifles, two AK-47 magazines and 13 rounds of 7.62mm special.

”Troops are currently sustaining operations in the area to intercept and neutralise the fleeing terrorists,” he added.
Abubakar said that the troops also arrested 29 suspected members of a cult group known as Sara-suka, with fabricated rifles, pistols and other assorted dangerous weapons recovered in Jos.

The commander, who thanked the personnel for their efforts, assured residents of the state of the operation’s readiness to secure their lives and property.

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