A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere has sentenced two men, Williams Udoh and Ubong Isaiah, to death by hanging for armed robbery and rape.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye on Wednesday also sentenced Mr Udoh to 21 years imprisonment for raping a married woman during their robbery operation.
The duo had been arraigned by the Lagos State government on a five-count charge of conspiracy, armed robbery and rape.
Delivering judgment during virtual court proceedings, the judge found the defendants guilty as charged.
Mrs Ipaye said the prosecution, through its six witnesses, proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the offences of rape, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery were indeed committed by the convicts.
“The prosecution has successfully established that series of robberies took place on August 2, 2015 and that the robbers were armed with guns and other offensive weapons.
“The failure of the state to tender the weapons does not water down the fact that the weapons were actually used.
“I am satisfied with the evidence of the prosecution witnesses (PW), together with the graphic testimony of the PW1. There is no room for any mistaken identity that the defendants were actually those who participated in the armed robbery.
“Also, I find the testimony of PW3 credible and detailed. Penetration, however slight, constitutes an offence of rape.
“PW3 was able to establish that the first defendant (Udoh) raped her. She said that the defendants were not masked; so she was able to identify them.
“The testimony of PW3 was also corroborated by PW2, which is cogent to establish that PW3 was indeed raped.
“Having established the offences of rape and armed robbery, the prosecution has indeed proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt.
“I, therefore, find you Williams Udoh and Ubong Isaiah guilty as charged.
“You shall be hung by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your souls.
“The first defendant, Udoh, is also sentenced to 21 years imprisonment for the offence of rape. This is the sentence of the court,” Mrs Ipaye said.
Before the judge gave the sentence, counsels to the defendants, Emmanuel Ohonyon and Jumil Bashir, urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
They said the convicts were family men, whose families depended on, adding that “if given a second chance, the convicts will turn a new leaf.”
However, during trial, one of the victims, Ijeoma Ojiakor, narrated how the thieves robbed and raped her.
She said after raping her, the first defendant took her eight- year-old daughter to the other five gang members stationed outside to rape, adding, however, that they refused to rape her.
The victim also said that before she was raped, the first convict hit her husband’s head with a gun and then tied him up.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the prosecution, led by T. K. Shitta-Bey, the Solicitor General of Lagos State, had arraigned and re-arraigned the duo on July 13, 2017, and they pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution alleged that the duo and others at large, committed the offences on Aug. 2, 2015 at two different residents at Shepherd Estate, Daramola street, Ijegun and No.8, Ologun Ijegun, Lagos.
She said the duo conspired, and while armed with guns and other offensive weapons, like sledge hammer and machetes, robbed one Ijeoma Orjiakor and Micheal Orjiakor of phones, jewellery, one laptop and N40,000 cash.
The prosecution also said that the first defendant (Udoh) had unlawful sexual intercourse with the 39-year-old woman.
She said that the defendants entered another building at No. 8, Ologun Ijegun and robbed one Esther Adeniran of her seven handsets and N600,000 cash.
According to her, the offences contravene Sections 258(1), 295(2) and 297 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011. (NAN)