A Bayelsa State High Court, Sagbama division, sitting in Yenagoa has sentenced a 21-year-old man, Timiondu Jephtath to 10 years in prison for raping a five-year-old girl to death.
In 2016, the accused person raped the girl to death at Akede community in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
The Presiding Judge, E. G. Omukoro, in his ruling in the suit numbered SHC/4C/2016 with a one count of murder brought against the accused by the state Ministry of Justice, said the prosecution failed to prove the accused had the intention to commit murder.
In his ruling, Justice Omukoro after considering the defendant’s plea of allocutus, declared that the court was mindful of the youthful age of the defendant who could be redeemed and make amends by way of atonement for his action.
He, therefore, ordered that “the defendant be detained at the Okaka Correctional Centre in Yenagoa or elsewhere as the Governor may determine for 10 years at the pleasure of the state governor.”
In 2016, the accused who was aged 16 years at the time, was arrested for raping to death a five-year-old girl and dumping her lifeless body in an abandoned fish pond close to his residence.
A private legal practitioner, Deme Bebra Pamosoo, who acted as the counsel for the victim’s parents, ensured that the victim’s body was recovered.
An autopsy was conducted by the police, and a case was filed at the state Ministry of Justice for the Director of Public Prosecutions’ recommendation for trial.
Reacting to the development, the Acting Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ebimietei Ekeowei Ottah, described the ruling as a victory for the victims of rape, defilement, and violence against women in the state.
She said, “It is a sound warning to the general public that it is no longer business as usual in Bayelsa State. Once you are brought before the law, the law will take its course and catch up with you.
“It has been a worrisome practice in Bayelsa State and more worrisome are the issues of negotiation with culprits by parents of victims of defilement or rape. It can no longer be tolerated or swept under the carpet as settlement. We call on parents, teachers, neighbours, and guardians to be vigilant and speak out against cases of rape, defilement, and violence against women in the state.”