Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Hussein Baba -Yusuf of an Abuja High Court on Tuesday handed down a seven years jail term to a clerg, Pastor Basil Princewill, convicted on charges of rape.
Princewill, who is the founder of Mountain Mover Ministry International in Nyanya, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was found guilty in two of the 4-count charge preferred against him by the Nigeria Police.
The charges borders on rape, impersonation and attempt to cause abortion and abetting miscarriage, involving a 14 years old girl.
“l must consider the fate of a young girl and the society”, the trial judge said while handing down the sentence, “It is even worrisome when the person involved is a man of God who we should look up to as next to God, those who serve in the Lord’s vineyard are expected to be an example to the society”.
While he stressed that it was necessary to send a strong signal that such attitude as rape and others would not be tolerated, Justice Baba-Yusuf however expressed regret that a person who called himself a man of God would be involved in such, “Shameful disgraceful and satanic act”.
According to him, “by this conduct, he deserved to be kept away from the public. He would face the prison walls like a monastry so that when he comes out, he would have been born again.”
Justice Baba-Yusuf, said that the court was mindful of the fact that Princewill was a first offender and accordingly sentenced him to seven years for the offence of rape and five years for the offence of abettment which will run concurrently.
Baba -Yusuf held that out of the four count, the defendant was convicted on count one, which is rape and count three which is abettment to cause abortion.
He said that the testimony of the three prosecution witnesses, PW1, mother of the victim, PW2, the victim herself and PW3, the doctor where the victim was taken to all established a guilty verdict against the defenfant.
” I believe the evidence of the PW2 (victim ) to be true and the PW1 (her mother ) told the story in the same way the victim told the court too.
” The evidence of the accused was inconsistent, and confusing also and the direct evidence given by the victim to her mother narrated the ordeal the victim went through in the hands of the accused,” he held.
He said that though the accused denied not raping the victim but his evidence contradicted itself and therefore convicted on the allegation of rape.
He also found the defenfant guilty in the third count of abettment to cause abortion.
However, Justice Baba-Yusuf discharged the defenfant in the charges of impersonation and attempt to cause miscarriage.
According to the judge,the prosecution did not prove the ingredients of the alleged offence.
The clergyman was alleged to have forcefully had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl, between July 27 and December 31, 2011 at Mountain Mover Ministry International and his house at Nyanya, Abuja, without her consent and impregnated her.
He was said to have given her drugs with a view to aborting a pregnancy.
Princewill was also alleged to have, on or about January, 2012, attempted to cause miscarriage on the victim when he gave her drugs to take and abort the pregnancy, which resulted to her bleeding.
The witness, Dr Felix Ogunbade of Fountainhead Medical Centre, Mararaba, Nasarawa State, told the court in the course of hearing that “the examination conducted on Favour as of the time she was brought to the clinic revealed that she was given an abortion drug.”
The witness, who had earlier testified in the case as the third prosecution witness, was recalled by the prosecution after the charge was amended.
The case was filed by the police on June 4, 2012 with the prosecution closing its case on December 9, 2016 after calling four witnesses to prove its case, with the defence also closing its case on May 24, 2017 having testified for himself without calling any one.
The offence according to police are contrary to sections 282, 179, 95 and 85 of Penal Code.