Alleged rapist denies confessional statement

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Justice Abiola Soladoye of the Lagos State Sexual Violence Court yesterday ordered a trial-within-trial to determine the authenticity or otherwise of a said confessional statement allegedly made by a suspected rapist, John Otema.

At the proceeding on Monday, the defendant informed the court that some portions of the confessional statement shown to him by the prosecution were not his.

The defendant, who is an old student of the University of Lagos, denied attacking and sexually assaulting students on campus.

Speaking through his counsel, the defendant said the addendum of six lines is against the regularity that was made on the 8th of February 2018, that found the defendant confessing to sleeping with PW1, ‘‘and very conveniently made to write that he was not forced to write the additional six lines and that no body beat him’’.

Hence, his defence counsel said the court should discountenance the prosecution’s evidence.

Arguing, the defendant’s lawyer said he is “objecting on the ground that the last six lines of the statement were made on a different date from the first, that is on the 8th of February, 2018 and those six lines were obtained through torture of the defendant.

 

“It was obtained involuntarily my Lord. The defendant was forced to make that confession. It is flagrant violation of Section 34(1a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic as amended”.

Otema’s counsel therefore urged the court to look at the proof of evidence at this stage.

Citing authorities, the defence counsel submitted that the court orders a trial-within-trial to ascertain if truly the defendant made those confessions.

Mr. A.A George, State Prosecutor however held that in the scheme of things, the judge should allow the prosecution to bring in relevant witnesses to prove the ‘‘voluntariness of the statement that the prosecution is presenting’’.

Otema, who is a UNILAG alumnus, is facing three counts bordering on rape and assault occasioning harm contrary to sections 173 and 260 (1) (2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Justice Soladoye adjourned the matter till 30 October for trial within trial.

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