A-34-year old Michael Isaac and 44-year-old Oluwaseyi Samuel, accused of abducting an 11-year old girl and engaging her in sex romps for five days have been freed of the allegations.
Justice Abiola Soladoye of a Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, Ikeja on Thursday, discharged and acquitted the two friends, of the charges for lack of culpability in the case of defilement, human trafficking and contemporary slavery.
Trial of the two friends began in 2018 when they were accused of luring the 11 years old alleged victim to a place at Railway line in Ijora area of Lagos.
They were said to have kept the girl inside a room for the romps for those number of days.
As at the time of the alleged incidence, the duo were said to have also kept the victim in their house and they did not allow her to come out, that whatever she needed was also brought to her inside the room while the suspects went out and returned to the house to sleep with her.
They had been accused of pretending that they did not know where she was while her parents were looking for her.
The incident was reported to the police leading to police investigation on how to locate her.
The suspects were accused of releasing her to go home having satisfied themselves.
The alleged victim was said to have reported what happened to her and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
According to a source, she reported that they instilled fear into her and she did not leave the place until they released her, before the police at the Gender Section of the Lagos State Police Command in Ikeja arrested the suspects and charged them before the Ogba Magistrates court for abduction and rape.
PM Express reported that the prosecutor, Mr. Christopher John, informed the Presiding Magistrate, Mr. Peter Nwaka, that the defendants abducted the victim and kept her away from the care of her parents for those days and defiled her.
Upon taking a not guilty plea, at the lower court, they were ordered remanded in prison custody.
At their arraignment, the Magistrate directed the prosecutor to duplicate their file and send to Directorate for Public Prosecution, DPP, for advice.
The police said that if the DPP finds them culpable, the matter will be transferred to the High Court for trial.
At the Sexual Offences court of the Lagos State High court on December 8, 2022, Justice Abiola Soladoye held that the prosecution had failed to establish the ingredients of each of the three-count charge, bordering on defilement and human trafficking and contemporary slavery against the defendants.
Soladoye said that the prosecution only called one Prosecution Witness, PW1, who was the nominal complainant in the case and his testimony was not corroborated, as the survivor failed to show up in court.
The judge said: “PW1 testified before this court that the survivor, who was living with him left home and never returned until she was seen by her family a few months later, under Idumota Bridge, and alleged that the defendants took her in and had sexual intercourse with her.
“The court did not see this girl, as she never came to court. The court is not a magician in determining if the defendants really committed the offences or not, as the girl in question never showed up in court to narrate her ordeal in the hands of her alleged assailants.
“There is no evidence that could be corroborated with that of the PW1, as the witness told the court that the survivor now resides in the village, and all attempts made by the prosecution to get the survivor to court proved abortive.
“According to the prosecution witness, the survivor had returned to the village since the alleged incident happened and effort to have her testimony through virtual hearing was to no avail, as she now resides in a remote part of Nigeria.
“The prosecution failed to prove the charge of defilement, human trafficking and contemporary slavery against the defendants.
“I find them not guilty of the charges and are hereby discharged and acquitted.”
The State Counsel, led by the Deputy Director of DPP, Mr. Olusola Shoneye, and other member of the team, Mrs. Olufunke Adegoke, alleged that Isaac and Samuel committed the offences from April to August, 2018, on Church Street, Ijora Badia, Lagos.
The offences, the police said, contravened the provisions of Sections 137 and 276 (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.