Priest remanded in custody over rape of minor

Priest remanded in custody over rape of minor

A Gudu Upper Area Court, Abuja on Monday remanded a priest, Rev. Anthony Ochuigbo in police custody for alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl.

The defendant a priest with the Church of Assumption, Asokoro, Abuja was arraigned on a one-count charge of rape. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecutor, Mr John Ijagbemi had told the court that one Mrs Grace Ibong of Kuruduma village, Asokoro, Abuja, reported the matter at the Commissioner of Police, FCT command on Aug. 17.

He said after a church programme in the said church, the defendant demanded the plaintiff to leave her 10-year-old and 8-year-old daughters to spend the night with him which she agreed.

He further said when the plaintiff went back to the defendant’s house to pick her children; she discovered an unusual movement from her 10-year-old daughter on Aug. 15.

Ijagbemi said when the plaintiff asked her daughter why she was moving unusually, the 10-year-old girl said that the defendant forcefully had carnal knowledge of her during the night.

He said the offense contravened Section 283 of the Penal Code.

The judge Alhaji Umar Kagarko however adjourned the case till Aug. 30 for ruling on a bail application made on behalf of the accused.

Defence counsel, Mr Godwin Chukwukere appearing with 11 other members of the bar, had brought the application pursuant to Section 158, 162, 163 and 164 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) urging the court to grant the defendant bail as he is still innocent until proven otherwise.

He argued that even though the offense is not bail able, Section 162 gives the court wide powers to grant bail in cases like this and urged the court to exercise its powers to the defendant’s favour.

He added that the defendant was already on Administrative bail and would not jump bail if granted.

The prosecutor, John Ijagbemi however opposed  the bail adding that the defendant was not granted Administrative bail.

He urged the court to discountenance the bail application and remand the defendant in custody.