Carpenter bags life jail for sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl

The Lagos State Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court sitting in Ikeja, on Monday, sentenced a 79-year-old carpenter, Olagbade Jeremiah, to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Justice Abiola Soladoye held that the prosecution was able to prove the offence of defilement against the convict without reasonable doubt.

Jeremiah was arraigned on a count sexual assault by penetration preferred against him by the state.

According to the lead prosecution counsel, Olusola Soneye, the offence committed contravened Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Soneye, who is a Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that the convict sexually assaulted the victim by inserting his finger in her vagina.

He said the incident took place in 2021 in the workshop of the convict in the Mammy Barracks Market in the Ojo area of Lagos State.

During the trial, the prosecution called three witnesses, including the victim.

Delivering her judgment, Soladoye held that the victim testified that she used to hawk sachet water and that the convict used to buy every sachet water in her possession whenever she was not able to sell everything.

According to the judge, the victim stated in her testimony that she was given N100 by the convict every time he performed the act on her.

She said, “He usually gave me money. Before he gives me the money, he removes my pants. Every time it happens, he gives me N100.”

Justice Soladoye also stated that the victim did not inform anybody about the incident because she was afraid her mother would beat her.

She said the victim’s mother beat her up when she found out and gave her sachet water to hawk.

The victim said, “I could not tell my mother because she would beat me up. My pocket money was N30. So, anytime I went to him (the convict), he would give me N100.”

Jeremiah testified solely in his defence.

According to Justice Soladoye, he initially denied knowing the victim, only through the mother of the victim.

However, under cross-examination, he said he knew the victim.

The judge said, “He denied knowing the victim but admitted knowing her through her mother. He also denied having anything to do with the poor girl. Under cross-examination, he stated that the victim was known to him. He claimed not to understand the English language whereas he gave evidence in the English language before this honourable court.”

Justice Sholadoye described the convict as a “pathological liar.”

While delivering judgment, the judge held that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was believable and truthful.

She stated that the testimony of the victim was corroborated by the other prosecution witnesses saying the witness’ testimonies were “incredible, compelling and cogent.”

She also held that their evidence established the offence of sexual assault by penetration.

She said, “I am convinced that the prosecution has proved each of the ingredients of sexual assault by penetration,” noting that the mother of the victim was also to be blamed.

She said, “The mother is blameworthy for sending her daughter to go and hawk sachet water.”

The judge also said, “The defendant is indeed a very dirty old man who took advantage of a 12-year-old girl and turned her vagina into a playhouse.”

She 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.

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