By Peter Duru
Makurdi…The Benue State Government, on Thursday arraigned Mr. Andrew Ogbuja, a 54 years old Senior Lecturer at the Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo for the alleged rape of a late minor, Ochanya Ogbanje.
He was arraigned alongside his son Victor who is at large, before a Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityonyiman on a four- count charge of allegedly criminal conspiracy, rape and murder of the 13-year-old girl.
Mr. Ogbuja’s arraignment came nearly a year after Ochanya’s death on October 17, 2018 from alleged complications arising from prolonged rape by the accused and his son.
At the mention of the case, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him but the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Paul Ukande, a Deputy Director, Public Prosecution, Benue State Ministry of Justice prayed the court to remand him pending the full commencement of trial.
Counsel to the accused, Mr. Abel Onoja, applied for an order of the court compelling the prosecutor to ensure that the medical experts named in the suit were brought before the court to testify during commencement of full trial.
“My Lord, I have a motion which seeks to compel the prosecution to produce medical experts who have been mentioned in the proof of evidence to be put on notice as to their physical appearance in court, so that they can testify when the trial commences,” Onoja stated.
The prosecuting counsel however opposed the application saying it was wrong and premature for the defence counsel to come up with an application when full trial was yet to commence.”
Justice Ityonyiman, agreed with the prosecution and overruled the defendant’s application, saying that “it is premature.”
He adjourned the further hearing to November 14, 2019, for definite commencement of trial.