Nigerian rapist gets a light sentence

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A Jos Upper Area Court on Monday may have incurred the wrath of anti-rape groups nationwide when it sentenced a 28-year-old farmer, John Dantalle to one year imprisonment over raping a married woman in her farm. The court also gave the convict an option of N5,000 fine.

Sections 357-359 of Nigeria’s criminal code prescribes between 14 years and life imprisonment as punishment to any person that commits the offense of rape, with or without caning.

But in passing his verdict, the Judge, Malam Mustapha Hassan, said he relied on section 157 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) that stipulate quick judgment for any suspect that pleads guilty to his or her offence.”

Hassan said that the prosecution had done an “excellent job” that convinced the court beyond reasonable doubt that the convict had committed the offence.

He said that the evidences tendered before the court by the prosecution had assisted the court to convict him.

“The confessional statement by the convict had also assisted the court to rule against him.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Mr Shuaibu Tambaya, had told the court that the accused committed the offence on Aug. 12, 2011 at about 5:30 p.m in the victim’s farm.

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He said that the convict met the victim while working in the farm alone and requested her to assist him with drinking water.

“My lord, the convict after surveying the area and noticed there was nobody near her, pounced on her. When they were struggling on the ground, he managed to pin her down and brought out a knife that made her to allow him have his way,” the prosecutor said.

Tambaya said that after the convict raped the woman and was about to escape, she raised an alarm that attracted passersby that pursued and arrested him.

The prosecutor tendered the knife, the torn skirt of the woman and the medical certificate as exhibits before the court.

He said that the convict had committed an offence contrary to section 283 of the Penal Code.

The accused pleaded guilty to the charge and begged the court for leniency, and said that it was the devil that pushed him into raping her.

The judge warned him to be of good behaviour after his jail term, and said that the court would not be lenient to him in future if he appeared before it for similar offence.