Mr Andrew Ogbuja, the alleged suspected rapist of 13 year old deceased victim, Ochanya Ogbanje was on Thursday arraigned by the Benue State Government.
Ogbuja, a senior lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, Benue State was alleged to have raped to death 13-year-old Ochanya Ogbanje along with his son, Victor, who is currently on the run.
The arraignment of the suspect is coming almost a year after Ochanya’s death on October 17, 2018 from complications alleged to have resulted from her prolonged rape by both father and son.
When the case came up, a four-count charge bordering on rape and murder was read to 54 year old Ogbuja, who pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
However, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. P. M. Ukande, Deputy Director, Public Prosecution, Benue State, prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison while a date is also to be fixed for his trial.
On his part, the defence lawyer, Mr. Abel Onoja, said he was not against the application for trial but urged the court to make an order compelling the prosecution to ensure that the medical experts named in the suit are physically brought before the court to testify.
“My Lord, I have a motion which seeks to compel the prosecution to produce medical experts who have been mentioned in the proof of evidence to be put on notice as to their physical appearance in court, so that they can testify when the trial commences,” the defence lawyer said.
In his reaction to the application, the prosecuting counsel said it was “premature to come up with such a request, given the fact that the trial has not fully commenced.”
Meanwhile, the trial judge, Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, agreed with the prosecution that it was still too premature to make such request and overruled the defendant’s application.
Subsequently, the court adjourned the suit to November 14, 2019, for commencement of trial.