AN Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered a trader, Emmanuel Egejuru, who allegedly defiled his neighbour’s 11-year-old sister, to enter his defence.
Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya dismissed Egejuru’s no case submission to a one-count charge of defilement.
The judge held that the Lagos State Prosecutor, Mr Adebayo Haroun, had made a prima facie case against Egejuru, which required some clarification.
Ogunsanya held: “The defendant has been sufficiently linked with the offence, which requires an explanation from him.
“His no-case submission is overruled. The defendant is hereby called upon to enter his defence.’’
Egejuru, 58, was accused of committing the offences sometime between November 2011 and February 2012, at Iyana Ipaja area of Lagos and was first arraigned on Jan. 12, 2016.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In his no-case submission, Egejuru disputed the prosecution’s claim that the victim was a minor.
His counsel, Mr Christian Emewulu, who later withdrew from the case, said the age of the victim was not established and there was no birth certificate to ascertain the real age.
He faulted the prosecution’s failure to tender a medical report to prove defilement.
Emewulu said Egejuru did not rape the girl, but rather argued that the defendant had a consensual act in the toilet with the girl.
After the ruling, the defendant, however, declined to enter a defence.
His new counsel, Mr O. Etudo, said the defendant would not testify but would rely on the prosecution’s case.
Etudo asked for a date to file their final written address.
Justice Ogunsanya adjourned until June 27, for the adoption of the parties’ final written addresses.
Earlier, the prosecution insisted that the victim was defiled.
Haroun told the court that the crime was reported to the police by the girl’s elder brother, with whom she lived in the tenement building.
The victim’s brother, while giving evidence, had told the court that when he returned from work, he became suspicious when he saw his sister walking somehow.
Another witness, a neighbour to the victim, Mrs Grace Ubong, corroborated the victim’s brother’s claim.
Ubong said she saw when the victim entered inside the toilet, and after Egejuru followed, “the girl later came out crying and walking awkwardly.’’
The prosecutor also submitted that the girl was below 18, so, there was no need to produce a birth certificate.
The offence contravened Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
-April 10, 17:57 GMT-