An alumnus of the University of Lagos, John Otema, who is standing trial for alleged rape of some female students of the institution, has denied voluntarily making parts of his purported confessional statement to the Police.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Fred Onyeka, counsel to Otema, on Monday, contested the statement being tendered in evidence at the resumed hearing of the case at the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court.
Onyeka said that an addendum of six lines, where his client admitted to having unlawful sexual intercourse with Student Y (name withheld) in his statement, did not emanate voluntarily from him.
The defence counsel said that Otema was coerced to write that he voluntarily wrote the contents and was not beaten prior to writing the statement.
“I am objecting on the ground that the last six lines of this statement were made on a different date from the first date, which was February 8, 2018.
“Those six lines were obtained through torture of the defendant. It was obtained involuntarily, my Lord. He was forced to make those confessions.
“It is a flagrant violation of Section 34(1) (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” Onyeka argued.
Urging the court to look at the proof of evidence, the defence counsel requested that the court order a trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness or otherwise of Otema’s alleged confessional statement.
Responding, the lead state prosecutor, Mr. Akin George, urged the court to allow the prosecution to bring in relevant witnesses to prove the voluntariness of the confessional statements.
Obliging the request of the defence counsel, Justice Abiola Soladoye adjourned the case until October 30 for trial-within-trial.
NAN reports that Otema is facing three counts bordering on rape and assault occasioning harm.
He is accused of raping two undergraduates of UNILAG.
According to the charge, Otema had sexual intercourse with Student Y without her consent on January 31, 2018 at his home at No. 6, Ajileye St., Bariga, Lagos.
Also, on January 17, he had unlawful sexual intercourse with Student X around the Distance Learning Institute at UNILAG, Akoka, Lagos.
He also allegedly physically assaulted Student X by hitting her several times on the face, strangling her and biting her back.
The offences contravene sections 173 and 260(1)(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.