A High Court in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, has sentenced one Godwin Ime Alex, to life imprisonment for raping a girl, one Miss Nancy Michael Ekefre.
Alex was found guilty by the court of raping the girl about three years ago.
Justice G. E. Archibong, while pronouncing the judgment said the prosecution had in the course of the trial proved the charge of rape beyond all reasonable doubts, but pardoned the convict on the second charge of stealing “for want of evidence.”
The pronouncement was without an option of fine.
The prosecution recalled that the convict had on November 25, 2014, along Abak Road, Uyo, dragged one Miss Nancy Michael Ekefre, to the back of the Corpers’ Lodge in Uyo and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her.
In her evidence before the court, Nancy recalled “I was returning from a visit to a friend on the said date when I passed through a narrow path and I was accosted by Alex, who was pretending to be defecating.”
She told the court that Alex had threatened to shoot her if she would not cooperate with him, adding that the fear of being shot at, coupled with the fact that nobody was on sight to rescue her, made the convict have the upper hand.
“At that point, he (Alex) dragged me behind the Corpers’ Lodge and commanded me to hold the fence, stripped me off my trousers and forcefully penetrated without my consent,” she narrated.
Also in the confessional statement of Alex, tendered by the prosecution, he confessed to the crime, admitting that “I ordered her to hold the fence and I inserted my penis into her vagina and sexed her.”
However, the court listed grounds under which a suspect in such circumstances could be convicted within three evidential conditions including testimony of eye witnesses, confessional statement of an accused and circumstantial evidence.
Other grounds include that “a man must have carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent or the consent was obtained under duress, intimidation, fear, impersonation, or false pretences, which resulted in penetration and that evidence of the complainant must be corroborated.”
Therefore, the court held that the evidence of PW1 was adequately corroborated by the confessional evidence of the accused person, disclosing that “the statement was admitted in evidence without the accused raising any objection that it was obtained by oppression.”
Amid tears, the convict pleaded for mercy, saying “I have realised that what I did was totally wrong.”
His counsel also pleaded that his client should be handed a lesser punishment since he was a first time offender.
But the presiding judge, Archibong, discountenanced their pleas and sent the accused to life imprisonment, saying the decision followed a painstaking investigation and establishment of the truth through the statements of two parties.
“Considering the graphic description of how he raped the PW1 in his confessional statement, it was easy to conclude that the accused person was a callous and heartless rapist, who deserves the maximum sentence for his offence,” he said.