A Sagbama High Court sitting in Yenagoa has sentenced a 21 years old man, Timiondu Jephtah to 10 years in prison over his conviction for manslaughter in the rape to death case of a five-years-old-girl.

Newsmen, gathered that in 2016, Jephtah, who was 16 years, was accused and arrested for raping to death a five years old girl and dumped her lifeless body into an abandoned Fish pond close to his residence.

The Presiding Judge, Justice E.G.Omukoro, in the suit numbered SHC/4C/2016, on a one-count charge of murder brought against the accused by the State Ministry of Justice, ruled that the charges became manslaughter due to the inability of the prosecution to prove the alleged intent to commit murder.

In his ruling, Justice Omukoro after considering the defendant’s plea of allocutus declared that the court is mindful of the youthful age of the defendant who could be redeemed and make amends by way of atonement for his action, ordered that “the defendant be detained at the Okaka Correctional centre in Yenagoa or anywhere else.”

A private legal practitioner, Deme Bebra Pamosoo Esq., counsel to the victim’s parents, said she ensured that the victim’s body was recovered, an autopsy conducted by the Police and a watertight case file presented to the State Ministry of Justice, for the Director of Public Prosecution to proceed 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 to the victims of rape, defilement and violence against women in the state, “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 issue 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.”’ Daily post reports

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