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

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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