The father of a 14-year-old victim of alleged rape on Thursday sought to withdraw criminal charges filed against the suspect, Richard Mathew, on the grounds that the victim has relocated and married in the Republic of Benin.
The victim’s father told Justice Sybil Nwaka of the Sexual Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos, when the matter was called for commencement of trial, that he wished to discontinue the case.
The man, who had caught the defendant in the act and fought and dragged him to a police station, was listed by the prosecution as a witness before he made his application to withdraw the case.
According to the father in his statement, on July 6, 2016, he returned from work to his home at Isheri and asked after his daughter only to be informed that the defendant, Mr. Mathew, had sent her on an errand.
He said he decided to go to the defendant’s house and found him having sex with his daughter and subsequently dragged him to the Isheri police station.
In response to the application by the victims father, the judge said, “The state is the complainant in this matter and the nominal complainant (the victim) is not here. There is nothing to prove to the court that you are indeed the father of the victim.”
“He is not in the position to withdraw the case because the complainant is the state. If the victim comes to court to say she is no longer interested, then the court can decide if the case should be withdrawn. I see him as nothing more than a meddlesome interloper.
“It is an offence against the state and all I can say is that the parents are a shame. They are more interested in not disturbing their new found in-laws than the well-being of their child.
“I would adjourn the matter for you to put your house in order and come back but until then, this case is very much on in this court.
“I hope the trend of this case will not send the wrong signal to the public because this is not the mission of this court. The mission of this court is to give justice to the victim in order to curb this social menace that is alarmingly on the rise.”
The prosecution, Jide Boye, however, asked the court to issue a court order compelling the victim’s father to appear in court in the next adjourned date pending the decision of the prosecution on the status of the case.
The judge adjourned till March 22 and issued an order for the appearance of the victim’s father.
Mr. Mathew had been arraigned on January 5 and had pleaded not guilty to a charge of defilement.
His lawyer had also informed the court of the victim’s family’s desire to withdraw the case on the same date but the judge dismissed the notice saying the defence had no business making such prayer to the court.
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