A 40-year-old businessman who was dragged to court for defiling and impregnating his neighbour’s daughter in Lagos, Monday, pleaded for out-of-court settlement.
The man, Nwanne Nwaora, made the plea before an Ikeja High Court, through his counsel, Mr Worer Obuagbaka, urging that the case be settled out of court in the interest the child produced by the unlawful act.
Nwaora, a resident of Ogba, Lagos, is accused of forcefully having sexual intercourse with the 12-year-old pupil.
Addressing the court, Obuagbaka said: “If he is sentenced to life imprisonment, the interest of the new child will be in jeopardy.
“If the case is settled out of court, and the defendant asked to take care of the child and the defiled child (complainant) that is enough punishment.
“If he is jailed, it will not be in the interest of the new child who will go through trauma knowing that her father is languishing in jail.
“I will like to request for an adjournment to enable us to interact with the relations of the victim so that the defendant will be made to take care of the new child and the defiled child by an order of this court.”
The defence counsel told the court that he was asking for a plea bargain agreement by the prosecution and defence.
The lead prosecution counsel, Mr Y. G Oshoala, who objected to the plea, said that Nwaora must lawfully pay for the alleged crimes.
“Contrary to the submission of the learned defence counsel, two witnesses – the victim and her mother – are in, and I learnt they have been to court on seven or more occasions.
“The defendant defiled a 12-year-old child and another child was produced from that act.
“The defendant should plead guilty, then the defence counsel can bring up the points he is canvassing.
“The defendant should not eat his cake and have it; he should assume legal responsibility for his actions,” Oshoala said.
In her ruling, Justice Josephine Oyefeso said: “I have considered very carefully the submissions of the learned counsel; I have considered that the defence counsel has only been briefed and that a plea bargain agreement is being requested by the defence.
“In view of the fact that the defence counsel has not been served with the proof of evidence, I will grant an adjournment.
“The case is adjourned until Jan. 7, 2019, for definite trial or report of plea bargain,” Oyefeso said.
According to the prosecution, Nwaora defiled the pupil in November 2015 in her parents’ apartment.
He is alleged to have lured his victim’s brother out of the apartment by sending him on an errand.
After the incident, the defendant allegedly threatened to kill the pupil if she would reveal it to anyone.
Few months later, the pupil’s mother noticed changes in her body and confronted her, thereby making her to reveal what happened.
The two-year-old child born as a result of the defilement was in court with her mother and grandmother.