An Ikeja, Lagos State Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Thursday acquitted a 26-year-old cleaner, Charles Etuk, of defilement as the alleged 13-year-old victim failed to testify.
Delivering judgment, Justice Abiola Soladoye held that there was no direct evidence linking the defendant to the alleged crime to warrant a conviction.
Justice Soladoye held: “There is no circumstantial or direct evidence linking the defendant to the crime.
“The victim did not testify in this case and the evidence of Sergeant Lama Bolaji was not corroborated and non-compelling.
“The defendant cannot be convicted on it alone.
“The evidence of the sole prosecution witness was a repetition of what he was told by the victim of this case and her mother.
“There was also no medical evidence before the court.
“Accordingly, the prosecution of this case was a waste of precious judicial time.
“I find you Charles Etuk not guilty as charged contrary to Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.”
Following the judgment, defence counsel, Kelechi Obi, thanked the court for “a well considered judgment”.
NAN reports that according to the prosecution, led by Arinola Momoh-Ayokanbi, Etuk committed the offence sometime in April 2017 at 16, Aina Street, Sogunle, Lagos.
The police alleged that he defiled the 13-year-old daughter of his neighbour.
The offence contravened the provisions of Section 261 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015
During trial, the prosecution opened its case on April 8, 2019 and presented one witness, the Investigating Police Officer, Sergeant Lama Bolaji.
The policeman in his evidence told the court that sometime in October 2017, the police had come to arrest the defendant’s home to arrest his brother over alleged defilement and the alleged victim who had witnessed the arrest had asked her mother the reason why Etuk’s brother was arrested.
Bolaji said: “When her mother told her why the defendant’s brother was arrested, the daughter opened up to her mother and said that the defendant did the same to her earlier in April.
“According to her, the defendant had sent her to buy a drink for him and when she returned from the errand, he grabbed her and defiled her.”
Testifying solely in his defence on January 23, Etuk denied all the allegations in court.