Legal Nigeria

Four Lagos men freed of child defilement charges after 8 years in prison

Four men charged with defiling two children were discharged and acquitted by Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Tuesday over the failure of the prosecution to prove the ingredients of the charge against the defendants, who had been in prison for over eight years.

Justice Rahman Oshodi set the men identified as Ojo Taye, John Mahason, Peter Arabo and Adenekan Adedeji free after acquitting them of a three-count charge bordering on defilement and sexual assault by penetration.

The defendants had been incarcerated for eight years following their arrest by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Lagos on Nov. 9, 2015.

They had pleaded not guilty on arraignment.

Ruling on the case on Tuesday, the Judge noted that the prosecution failed to bring the alleged survivors, aged five years and three years, to testify in the case.

He said that he could not rely mainly on the evidence given by the medical doctor and the investigative police officer to convict the defendants.

“The absence of the survivors in court to give their testimony has proven insufficient evidence against the defendants.

“It is better for nine guilty people to be set free than to convict one innocent person.

“I find the defendants not guilty of the charge and hereby acquit and discharge them,” he said.