High Court in Rivers State presided over by Justice Adulphus Enebeli yesterday sentenced a 58-year-old man to two years imprisonment for defiling his nine –year-old daughter.
The convict, Mr. John Ofuegbu was said to have had canal knowledge of his daughter thrice between May to December 2010, when he was arrested after the mother observed that the daughter’s vagina was swollen and took the victim for medical examination.
Delivering the judgment, which lasted for about one hour, the trial judge stated that after examining the evidences before him and the testimony of the PW1 (victim), he was persuaded that there was element of sexual abuse in the matter.
Justice Enebeli averred that he had previously doubted the veracity of the allegations as the accused and his wife had marital issues, and the latter might have influenced the daughter to accuse her father.
“I conducted some investigation to determine whether she was possessed or understood what she was saying. In all, the victim showed clear confidence and exhibited intelligence and consistent in her evidence. I tried to find out whether she was being tutored by her mother, but she was consistent all the time and I found her story to be more of coherent brief,” the trial judge said.
In further submitting that a child is said to be sexually abused when he/she is forced to enter into sexual intercourse, Justice Enebeli said Ofuegbu’s action had exposed the child to a long term psychological trauma and pronounced him guilty.
When asked to comment before his sentencing, Ofuegbu said: “God in heaven will be the one to judge. I have never and will never take my daughter but I still thank God. For whoever that is involved, let God take control.”
On his part, the defense counsel, Mr. Eginson Unwene pleaded the court to tamper justice with mercy as the accused had been in prison for over five years since January 2011 when he was arraigned before a Magistrates Court and considering the fact that the accused had no previous criminal record.
Sentencing Ofuegbu, the trial judge said the offence was punishable for 14 years in prison without option of fine under section 34 subsection 4 of the Rivers State Child’s Right Act, 2009.
But in line with the principle of deterrence and considering the fact that the accused was the father of the victim and had spent five years in prison, “the accused is hereby sentenced to two years in prison without option of fine.”

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