An Ikeja Special Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court has convicted Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James, alias Baba Ijesha, of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old minor, and sentenced him to 16 years imprisonment.
Trial judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, however, acquitted and discharged him of count one and count six, which were: sexual assault by penetration and attempted sexual assault by penetration.
The sentence would run concurrently according to the judge.
The judge sentenced him after he was found guilty of four counts out of six-count charge brought against him by the Lagos State government.
The state had through its Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr.Babajide Matins filed the charge bordering on indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration against the defendant.
While delivering judgment, Justice Taiwo held that the state failed to prove counts one and six of the charge.
The judge said the sentence is to run concurrently. He was exonerated of offence of sexual by penetration, which deals with allegedly sexually assaulting the minor by penetration with his car key seven years ago and attempted sexual assault by penetration during another encounter with the minor in April 2021.
The court found him guilty and convicted him on: indecent treatment of a child and sexual assault of a minor between 2013 and 2014.
The court held that the prosecution successfully proved counts two and three that he indecently placed the survivor on his lap and rubbed his penis on her body.
He was also found guilty of counts four and five, where he was accused of indecently touching the same minor and sexually assaulting her seven years later, by rubbing her body and sucking her fingers.
The court held that the defendant confessed that he molested the girl in 2021.
“The court can convict a person based on his confessions. The defendant was consistent in his admission in the two videos.
“The pain of the first prosecution witness (Damilola Adekoya Princess) was real. The girl was scared and we could see the fears in her eyes while she was giving her evidence before the court. She was compelled to make her evidence.
“The argument of the defence that the prosecution failed to state the exact age of the survivor cannot stand as the law states that anyone under the age of 18 years is regarded as a child.
“The defendant may not have the thought of having sex with the survivor on that day but he aroused her by sucking her fingers and rubbing her body. He did not take off his clothes while arousing her.
“I hereby found the defendant guilty of counts two to five and he is discharged of counts one and six. The defendant is hereby sentenced to five years imprisonment for count two, three years for count three, five years for count four and three years for count five.” They are to run concurrently starting from the day he was convicted.
The court held that the review of the medical expert; the testimony of the two witnesses; forensic analyst and child expert, Mrs Olabisi Ajayi-Kayode and a medical doctor, Dr. Aniekan Makanjuola showed that there was blunt penetration of the virginal, but couldn’t ascertain the time.
“The time has elapsed on the assault and the medical examination, the injury would have been erased since seven years ago.
During trial, the prosecution called six witnesses including the survivor, the mother of the victim (Princess), Investigation Officers and medical experts. Four witnesses also testified for the defendant in the case.
After he was found guilty, the defendant’s counsel, Mr. Kayode Olabiran, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy. He stressed that the defendant is a first time offender who has passed through trauma of incarceration both at Kirikiri Correctional facility and Panti when he was arrested and remanded.
But the judge, while sentencing the convict said : “The is very sad. The behaviour of the defendant is appalling, the case showed the length people can go in exhibiting the animalistic urge in them by abusing the position of friendship.
“ The defendant took his acting too far. Children are frequently preyed on because of their inability to defend themselves.
Baba Ijesha after the judgment broke down in tears, weeping and saying he did not commit the offence. He was however surrounded by his colleagues in the industry who came to console him.