The Supreme Court on Friday affirmed the five-year jail term with hard labour passed on Afor Lucky who had carnal knowledge of a five-year-old girl on about April 7, 2007 at Ole in Delta State. The Supreme Court also upheld a fine option of N300, 000 fine. The ruling sets the precedence for the punishment of those who have carnal knowledge of minors.
Mr Lucky was charged with rape. He was tried and found guilty of the crime as charged in the High Court of Delta State. Dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court, Mr Lucky approached the Court of Appeal, Benin City. The Court dismissed his appeal on Nov.17, 2014. Further dissatisfied with the outcome of his appeal, Mr Lucky sought the intervention of the Supreme Court on six grounds of appeal.
He asked the court to decide whether the Court of Appeal was right to have held that his counsel conceded that rape was committed. He had also asked the court to say whether the Court of Appeal did not speculate when held that he (convict) had sexual intercourse with the minor.
Mr Lucky wanted the Supreme Court to decide whether the evidence of the medical doctor, in the circumstances of the case, amounted to corroboration. And finally, the convict had asked the most superior court to decide whether allocution, a formal statement made to the court by the defendant who has been found guilty, prior to being sentenced, amounts to admission of guilt.
Delivering the judgment on the appeal, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta held that it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that the convict had forceful carnal knowledge of the minor.
“The convict has successfully killed something in the psyche of the victim, leaving the poor girl devastated and with a permanent scar for life. “The principle of inviolability of a sentence not appealed against, which I am duty bound to apply herein most regrettable and painfully appears to give credence to the saying that the law is an ass.
Maybe the asinine attribute is not inherent in the law but in the application of its provision as amply demonstrated in this case. The provision has provided for 14 years maximum jail term for rape but the trial judge decided to give Lucky five years. In conclusion, having resolved the five issues, except one, against the convict, I therefore dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
The judgment of the Court below which affirmed the judgment of the trial Court is hereby affirmed.”