An Ekiti State High Court has sentenced former Vice Principal of St. Mary’s Girls Grammar School, Ikole-Ekiti, Taiwo Ajayi, to life imprisonment for raping a 12-year-old student (name withheld).
The court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, found Ajayi guilty of raping a minor, contrary to Section 31(2) of the Child Rights Law of Ekiti State 2012.
The convict was the Vice Principal (Academics) at the time he committed the offence on March 18, 2014.
Ajayi lured the girl into his office, locked the door from behind and raped her on the table while blocking her mouth with a cloth. One of the teachers knocked at the door but the convict refused to open the door and threatened the victim not to tell anybody.
Two teachers stormed the victim’s office finding the door locked but gained entrance after about 30 minutes and discovered the vice principal having carnal knowledge of the girl.
Justice Oluwatoyin Abodunde held that the prosecution had proved the case beyond every reasonable doubt on the strength of evidence placed before the court.
The prosecution was led by Mr. A.E. Arogundade of the Ministry of Justice, while the defence was led by Mr. Sule Longe. The convict was first arraigned in court on October 14, 2016 and he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In delivering the judgment, Justice Abodunde rejected the convict’s counsel’s plea for leniency on grounds that his client is a first offender, father and breadwinner of an aged mother.
Justice Abodunde held: “The cases of child defilement has been on the increase lately and to serve as a deterrent to others, my view is that the punishment stipulated by the lawmakers was deliberate to deter the offence and protect the right to dignity of the child.
“The defence counsel is pleading for leniency and praying for fine instead of the due punishment. My question is: who pays the victim for the lifetime scar of the trauma and torture of rape.
“I am unable to deviate from the provisions of the law in this instant. The defendant is found guilty as charged and sentenced to life imprisonment.”
The prosecution called eight witnesses, including a medical practitioner from the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, police officers who investigated the case, two other pupils and a teacher in the school.
Exhibits tendered include a medical report, statement of the accused, report of the panels set up by the school authorities and Teaching Service Commission, medical report from the police clinic, statement of the victim, among others.
The two panels set up to investigate the matter indicted Ajayi which led to his suspension from service after which he was arrested and arraigned to face the charge.