Two young men in their early 30’s have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for gang raping a 17-year-old girl after robbing the girl’s parents of valuables.
A Delta State High Court sitting at Ughelli sentenced the two notorious rapists, having found them guilty of the offence of conspiracy, rape and attempted armed robbery.
The court, while delivering the verdict that lasted for over two hours, condemned the barbaric action of the two criminals for their shameful acts and advised young people never to resort to crime no matter the condition they found themselves.
The court declined the plea for mercy by defence counsel, M.I. Oshemele, on the ground of law and proceeded to hand down the mandatory punishment for the offence they committed as prescribed by law.
Having cited several authorities, the trial judge Justice O. Tobi, averred that the confessional statements of the accused, which was admitted in evidence during trial, passed the veracity test and was not in doubt.
Tobi said the prosecution, led by P.T. Daubry, had proved the essential ingredients of the three-count information charge.
Ernest Steve, 30, and Jerry Godwin, 29, reportedly broke into the 17-year-old girl’s parents’ apartment located at Young Africa Close, Ovwian, within Otor-Udu judicial division, under the cover of darkness on November 5, 2007 while armed with a gun and knife.
After allegedly robbing the parents of the girl, whose father is said to be a pastor, of some valuables, the armed gang had carnal knowledge of her in turn, causing her severe bodily injuries and psychological trauma.
However, there was a mild drama in court moment after the judgement was delivered as the mother of one of the convicted rapists went beserk.
She went almost naked within the court premises, saying that the life imprisonment for her only son was too much for a pain for her to bear.
Meanwhile, another High Court sitting at Ughelli discharged and acquitted one Michael Sunday, who was on a criminal trial on a one-count charge of armed robbery.
Jubilant Sunday, who walked home free, was in detention for five years awaiting trial.
His Lawyer, Eloho Irogbo, commended the trial judge for the erudite and sound judgement, saying that the court remains the final hope of the common man.