An Ikeja Special and Sexual Offences court has convicted and sentenced Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju Omiyinka James, alias Baba Ijesha, to five years imprisonment for sexual assault of an under age girl on Thursday.
Delivering the judgement, the trial judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo found the defendant guilty of four offences, out of the six counts charge filed against him in Suit number ID/14623C/2021 brought against him by the Lagos State government.
The charge against him borders on allegations of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration, and sexual assault by penetration.
Baba Ijesha was pronounced guilty of counts 2,3,4 and 5 while the prosecution could not prove on count 1 and 6.
He was found guilty of indecent treatment of a child and sexual assault, which is contrary to Section 135 of Lagos State Criminal Law 2015.
The law stipiulates that “Any person who unlawfully and indecently deal with a child commits a felony and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven (7) years.
The court held that defendant confessed that he molested the girl in 2021.
“The court can convict a person based on his confessions. The defendant was consistent in his admission in the two videos.
“The pain of the first prosecution witness (Damilola Adekoya Princess) was real. The girl was scared and we could see the fears in her eyes while she was giving her evidence before the court. She was compelled to make her evidence.
“The argument of the defence that the prosecution failed to state the exact age of the survivor can not stand as the law states that anyone under the age of 18 years is regarded as a child.
“The defendant may not have the thought of having sex with the survivor on that day but he aroused her by sucking her fingers and rubbing her body. He did not take off his clothes while arousing her.
“I hereby found the defendant guilty of count two to five and he is discharged of counts one and six. The defendant is here by sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for count two, 3 years for count three, 5 years for count 4 and 3 years for count five.”
The sentence are to run concurrently starting from the day he was convicted.
The judge held that the defendant’s behaviour was appalling, because he abused friendship and took his acting too far.
She added that the evidence before the court showed that the defendant started molesting PW 2 from the moment the victim’s forster mother saw the CCTV installer off.
Following his conviction, the defence counsel, Mr. Kayode Olabiran in his allocutus on behalf of the convict pleaded that the judge should temper justice when considering sentencing on Baba Ijesha.
He said that, defendant is a first time offender who has passed through trauma of incarceration both at Kirikiri and Panti Correctional facility when he was arrested and remanded.
“There is no doubt that the defendant is remorseful. We pray my lord to consider the fact that the defendant is an actor who has impacted positively to the society in the course of his career.
“We urge your lordship to be lenient with the defendant who has lost almost all his image all over the world and will be deserted by his colleagues in the movie industry.
“He has an aged parents, wife and son who depend on him and they look up to him coming back home. We assure the court that the defendant is a changed person who will not go back to his vomit. We urge the court to be merciful unto him and consider the least sentence.”
Justice Taiwo while sentencing the convict said, this case bring to the lime-light of cases in the society despite the effort of government and the non governmental organisations to sensitise the public.
“The behaviour of the defendant is appalling, the case shows the length people can go in exhibiting the animalistic urge in them in abuse the position of friendship.
“The defendant took his acting too far. Children are frequently preyed on because of their inability to defend themselves.”
The judge said the sentence is to run concurrently.
The convict after the judgement broke down in tears, weeping and saying he did not commit the offence.
He was however surrounded by his colleagues in the industry who came to console him.