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Groundnut seller bags life jail for defiling four-year-old

The Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Monday sentenced Sunday Uche, a 21-year-old groundnut trader, to life imprisonment for defiling a four year-old-girl.

Justice Ramon Oshodi held that the prosecution was able to prove the offence of defilement against the convict without reasonable doubt, stating that the defendant’s actions were heinous and deserving of the maximum punishment under the law.

Uche was remanded in custody on February 1, 2017, on a count of defilement by penetration preferred against him by the state, to which he pleaded not guilty.

According to the prosecution counsel, I.D. Solarin, the offence committed by Uche contravenes Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

The court heard that the incident occurred on February 2, 2017, in the house of the convict.

Uche, who worked as a groundnut trader, defiled the minor in his home after she came to beg for groundnuts.

“I was at home when one small boy brought a four-year-old girl to my house to beg for groundnuts, so I decided to have sexual intercourse with her. After everything, I gave her some groundnuts. The small baby cried. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I was so eager, but I did not release inside the vagina. After releasing sperm, I became weak, surprisingly the mother of the girl came to my house to look for me,” he said.

The victim’s mother reported the crime to the authorities, leading to Uche’s arrest.

It was gathered that during cross-examination, Uche presented a starkly different account of the event that happened on February 2, 2017. But once he was presented with judicial Exhibit E, a statement made by him on February 3, 2017, at the State Criminal Investigation Department, the overall case significantly shifted.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Oshodi Ramon held that the evidence presented found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, under Sections 135i and 139 of the Criminal Law of Lagos.

“Based on the evidence presented, a statement of the IPO of the Sabo Police Command, Lagos State, a statement from the victim’s mother, the police referral for medical examination, a detailed medical report from Mirabel Centre dated February 2, 2017, and the defendant’s statements, I find the defendant guilty and convict him under Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos.”

He further held, “This is a grave offence that carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The parts of this case are alarming: you took advantage of a four-year-old girl who came to you simply asking for groundnut. You exploited her vulnerability and trust, in the most heinous way imaginable. The physical and psychological harm you have inflicted on this young victim is immeasurable and likely to have a long-lasting effect.”

He convicted the defendant on one count of defilement by penetration and sentenced him to life imprisonment, ordering that the name of the convict should be registered in the Lagos State Sexual Offences Register.

Justice Oshodi acknowledged the convict’s plea for mercy, saying, “I have considered other factors like the lack of previous convictions and your plea for mercy and sentencing. However, the aggravating factors outweigh any other circumstances.

“The purposes of sentencing in this case must prioritise the protection of the public, particularly vulnerable children and to send a message to others. Taking all factors into account, I sentence you to life imprisonment and you will be registered as a sex offender.”


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