Thursday, July 18, 2024

School bus driver jailed for life over defilement of three-year-old girl

“The convict’s allegation of having an amorous relationship with the mother of the victim in her shop does not hold water.’’

• July 9, 2024
Court room
Courtroom used to tell the story

A school bus driver, Michael Mowete, was on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment for defiling a three-year old girl (name withheld).

Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court held that the prosecution had discharged the burden of proof against Mr Mowete.

Mr Oshodi, in his judgment, said that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the charge of defilement against the school bus driver.

He said, “The convict’s allegation of having an amorous relationship with the mother of the victim in her shop does not hold water. One of the defence witnesses, the school bus assistant, told the court that the convict was always on the bus whenever they dropped off the minor at her mother’s shop.’’

According to the judge, the prosecution gave direct evidence as the survivor, despite her age, narrated to the court how the convict defiled her.

The judge said the evidence of the minor was corroborated with the mother’s and the medical examination evidence while the investigative police officer gave circumstantial evidence in the case.

He said, “The mother of the prosecutrix (survivor), in her evidence said that on September 27, 2019, the bus driver dropped her daughter off and her daughter told  her ‘mummy! mummy! uncle Michael touched my bumbum and jumped on me.’

“The mother said she thought it was just an ordinary touch until she wanted to bathe her daughter at night and she started shouting when water touched her private parts. Inspite of the prosecutrix age, she demonstrated to the court, repeated how the defendant defiled her and said in her evidence said ‘uncle Michael touched my bumbum and he jumped on me’

“The defence, in its final written address argued that the prosecutrix was coached but the evidence before this court does not show this.

”The  defendant in his evidence  said  that he was alone  with  the prosecutrix on the day of the incident and this  also  corroborated the evidence of the mother that on September 27, 2019, the driver solely brought her child home at 6.00 p.m. as against the 3.00 p.m. which she usually return home.”

Mr Oshodi  also said  the medical examination revealed  recently repeated blunt force penetration of the vagina.

He also said that the defendant’s reliance on MTN call log as a means of sexual communication between himself and the survivor’s mother could not be established because no evidence was produced in regards to the call log conversation.

According to the judge, the amorous relationship between the defendant and the survivor’s mother was a lie and even if it was true, it did not negate the fact that the prosecution had established the charge of defilement against him.

He added, “Exhibit P6A and P6B indicted the defendant as he also confirmed in his extra judicial statement that he was the only one with the prosecutrix in the school bus on the said date. It is evident that the defendant forcefully touched the prosecutrix with his hand and penis.

“The totality evidence, prosecutrix evidence, corroborate the mother’s evidence and that of the medical report also, the circumstantial evidence of the police showed that the defendant committed the offence. The prosecution has discharged the burden of proof against the defendant and he is hereby convicted under Section 137 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State (2015).”

Mr Oshodi consequently sentenced Mr Mowete to life imprisonment and ordered that his name be registered in the Lagos State Sexual Offences Register.

He noted. “Michael Mowete, this court has found you guilty of the charge of defilement. You have defiled a child, barely three years of age and you attempted to traumatise her family by fabricating that you had an amorous relationship with her mother. The mother of the child told  this court that urine comes out of her daughter’s vagina every 15 to 30 minutes and this shows how much damage you have done to the child. You are hereby sentenced to life imprisonment and you shall serve the remainder of your term in the Maximum Correctional Centre.”

The state Lead Counsel, Babajide Boye, called four witnesses while defence also called four witnesses.

The prosecution submitted that the convict committed the offence on September 27, 2019 on Okeho Street, Isolo and Lukmon Street, Ago Okota, Lagos.

(NAN)

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