Student on trial for multiple rapes cleared by court

Delivering judgment, Justice Peace Otti said that the evidence of the witnesses produced by the prosecution were inconsistent.

The Awka Children, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Court has acquitted and released Michael Arinze, a 20-year-old, who was accused of sexually assaulting three young women in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Arinze, a second-year student at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University in Igbariam, had been brought to trial in July 2022.

Despite facing eight charges, including rape and armed robbery, he maintained his innocence.

The prosecution argued that his actions violated Section 5 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law of Anambra State 2017 and Section 347 of the Criminal Code Cap 36 Vol. II Revised Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1991, as amended.

The defendant, who has been in custody for 21 months, was alleged to have raped and robbed his victims, two aged 21 and the third, 22 years, of their handsets and money at gunpoint.

The prosecution alleged that the offences were committed on April 5, July 8 and July 15, 2022, respectively.

Delivering judgment, Justice Peace Otti said that the evidence of the witnesses produced by the prosecution were inconsistent.

Otti said further that prosecutory evidence was inconsistent with the defendant’s confessional statement.

“No independent witness testified to corroborate the story of the prosecution, no medical doctor was called as a witness to confirm medical reports and no medical report was also tendered to prove prosecution’s case.

“The Court in criminal cases does not dwell on speculations, but on credible, vital and relevant evidence.

“The guilt of the defendant was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

“I find the defendant not guilty and the defendant is hereby discharged and acquitted,” she said.

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