The Children, Sexual and Gender-based Violence Court in Awka has acquitted Michael Arinze, a 20-year-old student accused of raping three young women in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Arinze, a 200-level student of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, had been arraigned in July 2022 on eight counts of rape and armed robbery but pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution alleged that the offenses violated Section 5 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law of Anambra State 2017 and Section 347 of the Criminal Code Cap 36 Vol. II Revised Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1991, as amended.

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Arinze, who had been in custody for 21 months, was accused of raping and robbing his victims, two aged 21 and one aged 22, of their phones and money at gunpoint on April 5, July 8, and July 15, 2022.

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In her judgment, Justice Peace Otti cited inconsistencies in the evidence presented by the prosecution. She noted that the prosecutorial evidence did not align with the defendant’s confessional statement.

Otti emphasized the lack of independent witnesses to corroborate the prosecution’s story and the absence of medical reports or testimony from a medical doctor to substantiate the prosecution’s case.

Consequently, Justice Otti declared that the guilt of the defendant had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and acquitted him of all charges.

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