The Ikeja Sexual Offence and Domestic Violence Court

 

The Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Monday sentenced a 27-year-old cleaner, Saviour Udoh, to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl on a church premises.

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 action was reprehensible and deserving of the maximum punishment under the law.

Udoh was arraigned on February 5, 2020, on a count of sexual assault 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 Udoh contravened Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The court heard that the incident occurred on December 12, 2018, on the premises of a prominent Pentecostal church in Ikeja, Lagos.

Udoh, who also worked as a cleaner at the church, approached the sleeping child in the children’s department and sexually assaulted her.

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

Delivering his judgment, Justice Oshodi held that the crime committed was a grave one.

He said, “The court has carefully considered the evidence presented during the trial, including the confessional statement, the testimony of the victim, her mother, the IPO, and the medical evidence. The crime he has committed is a grave one as it involves sexual exploitation of a vulnerable child.”

According to the judge, the victim is still suffering from the effects of the crime committed by the convict. He said, “The impact of your action on the victim and her family cannot be overstated. In her testimony, the victim’s mother stated that she was still taking the victim to the hospital three years after the incident and that the victim was still having discharges.

This statement highlights the long-lasting physical and emotional trauma inflicted upon the child.

“The victim who was only five years old at the time of the incident trusted you, and her mother entrusted her in your care. You breached that trust, most disgustingly, by sexually assaulting the child. Sexual assault by penetration is a serious offence that attracts a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment under Section 261 of the Criminal Law”, he stated.

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 circumstance.”

He convicted the defendant on the one-count charge of sexual assault 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.

He said, “Therefore, having found you guilty of sexual assault by penetration, I now sentence you to imprisonment for life as mandated by Section 261 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State. You will serve this sentence in the maximum security custodial centre or wherever the

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