Court discharges, acquits Rivers varsity don accused of rape

A Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and Acquitted a lecturer with the Rivers State University, Prof. David Ogbonna, who was standing trial on alleged sexual assault on a female student of the said institution.

Ogbonna, former Head of Department of Microbiology, RSU, was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old female student of his department in his (Ogbonna’s) office sometime in June 2022.

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The university don was subsequently arrested and arraigned for Sexual Assault, but was later granted bail to the tune of N2,000,000 and other stringent bail conditions.

However, after over a year of the legal battle, the Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, discharged and Acquitted the accused, citing lack of substantial proofs and evidence against the accused.

The Chief Magistrate, Poromon Menenen, in the judgement stressed that the prosecution team failed to prove their case against the accused.

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Menenen stated that the phone the female student claimed she used in recording Professor Ogbonna’s discussions with her on the day of the alleged incident was never tendered as exhibit to court during the trial.

The Magistrate noted that the Compact Disc the female student claimed she transferred the recording to was not also tendered in the course of the trial.

Menenen also stated that the underwear the female student claimed had stains of semen after the assault was not subjected to a forensic examination of any kind and that the prosecution team failed to call the Health Worker who conducted medical examination on the female student to testify in court.

The Magistrate said the prosecution team further failed to provide one Chidinma in court to testify, who the female student claimed left her and the Professor in the lecturer’s office after both of them came to his office.

Chief Magistrate Menenen maintained that there is no substantial evidence to prove the case of unlawful and assault against Prof. Ogbonna, thereby discharging and acquitting the lecturer.

After the court decision, G.U. Amana, the State prosecuting counsel in the matter representing Rivers State Ministry of justice declined to speak to newsmen.

But, one of the defence counsel for Prof. Ogbonna, Emma Okah, said the defence team knew the case would go the way it went because there was no evidence ab initio.

Okah opined that Prof. Ogbonna has been innocent from beginning and will continue to be innocent.

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