Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the State capital, on Monday ordered a public transport driver in Ondo, headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the State, Blessing Kingsley, to life in prison for raping a 14-year-old girl and infecting her with Hepatitis B.
The court presided over by Justice Bode Adegbehingbe ruled that all evidences before it proved that Kingsley was guilty of the one count charge of rape leveled against him for which he was charged to court two years ago.
Kingsley was alleged to have raped the victim in 2018 on her way home from her grandmother’s shop in Ondo town.
The court said it was able to establish that Kingsley, a rickshaw (Keke NAPEP) driver, drove the victim to his house, under the pretext of taking her greet his family, forcibly having sex with her when they got there.
Justice Adegbehingbe said in his ruling: ‘A report was immediately made at the Funmbi Fagun police station while a medical examination confirmed she was raped and even infected with Hepatitis B by her rapist.’
He said Kingsley had through his action committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 358 of the criminal laws of Ondo State 2006.
The defendant, who was represented by a counsel from that Legal Aid Council, was the only witness for himself while the prosecution called four witnesses including the victim.
A police officer, Olanrewaju Agbelusi, who arrested Kingsley, a photographer and medical doctor, Dr Jegede, subpoenaed to speak to the medical records.
The prosecution also brought to court as exhibit, the victim’s blood soaked underwears, photographs of the scene showing blood stained mattress, and her medical report after the incident, among others.
After two years of trial, Justice Adegbehingbe in his judgement said Kingsley gave weak and pitable evidence as well as criminally exploited his familarity with the victim despite claiming not to know her before the incident.
He said the weight of evidence by the principal witness and the victim is substantial to convict Kingsley, just as the prosection also proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Adegbehingbe convicted Kingsley on a count charge of rape and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
The representative of the Legal Aid Council, Toyin Asake, said Kingsley still has a window of appeal but the State counsel who prosecuted the case, Stella Adegoke described his conviction as another success in the fight against rape.
The convict was handed over to officers of the Nigerian Correctional Service to begin his sentence.