Eight-year-old Girl defiled by suspect dies during trial

Eight-year-old Girl defiled by suspect dies during trial

It was tragic at a family court situated at Isabo in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on Monday as an eight-year-old girl (name withheld) allegedly defiled by one Lekan Tunji, died while the trial was ongoing at the court.

Tunji was arraigned last year before the court on one-count charge.

According to the charge sheet, the suspect committed the offence on June 27, 2022, at Lagbua Village, Kemta Housing Estate, Idi-aba, Abeokuta.

Tunji allegedly committed the offence by defiling the victim and also inserting a blackish substance into the girl’s private part with his finger.

“That you LEKAN OYEDELE TUNJI (M) on or about the 27th day of June 2002 at 05:30 pm at Lagbua Village, Kemta Housing Estate, Idi-aba, in the Abeokuta Magisterial District Sexually Exploited one (name withheld) eight (8)-year old girl by inserting a blackish substance into her vagina with your finger and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 33 of the Child Rights Law, Laws of Ogun State, 2006,” the charge read.

The suspect pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was granted bail by the Magistrate in charge of the case, Mrs Idowu.

The Prosecuting counsel, M J Oyefesobi opened the case and closed it after calling witnesses and presented some evidence in support of the case.

When the trial resumed on Thursday for the respondent’s counsel to open defence, the Court was informed that the girl had died.

Defence Counsel, T A Akinsola prayed the court to adjourn the matter in view of the circumstance.

The Prosecuting counsel did not oppose the prayer.

Magistrate Mrs E.O Idowu, therefore, adjourned the matter till August 3 for the opening of defence.

The Complainant, Barrister Adedamola Lapite, who is also the Executive Director, Spring Centre, a sexual assault referral centre in Ogun state, told newsmen after the adjournment that the girl died while she was preparing for school on Monday. She dressed up for school and she was told to go and pick up up her water bottle. She just dropped dead,” he said.

He said her death would not affect the ongoing trial because the prosecutor had closed the case before her demise.

Lapite said “The next line of action is for the defence to open their case except we are able to link her death to his (suspect) actions.

“She already gave evidence. She is not a party parse when it comes to law. If you look at the case, it’s State or Commissioner of Police vs Defendant. So, the case will still go on even if she is not there.

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