by Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Benin, March 15, 2019 A 28-year-old man, Patrick Achugboe, accused of raping a minor on Friday, told a High Court in Benin that the confessional statements in question were obtained under duress while in police custody.
During cross-examination by the State Counsel, Mrs E. O. Osula, Achugboe, alleged that purported statement was not written by him.
”The police locked me up in a cell and brought me out at midnight and asked me to corporate by signing a statement they had already written.
“They beat me up with a gun butt and tear gassed the cell I was locked in and ordered me to sign it. I eventually did in order not to lose my life,” he said.
Testifying, the Investigating Police Office, Mrs Joy Ojo, who is a Principal Witness, told the court that the accused willingly and without any form of intimidation or coercion, signed the statement.
”The suspect signed the statement I had prepared after I had read it out to him. He was not forced to sign the statement.
”Infact, he signed the statement in a conducive environment,” she said.
According to the charge sheet, the accused, along with one other, on Jan. 16, 2018, at Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, abducted and raped a 17-year-old girl.
The offence, according to the police is punishable under Section 4 of the Edo State kidnapping Prohibition (Amendment) law 2013.
After listening to the testimonies, Justice E. Ikponwonba, adjourned the matter until March 27, for both counsel to present their addresses.
edited by Sadiya Hamza