Heavy punishment for rape

A Court has a duty not to impose light sentence for the offence of rape.

Posu v. State [2011] 2 NWLR (Pt. 1234) 393 at 418, paras. A-B, per Adekeye, JSC:

“The purpose of the criminal law is to prevent harm to the society. The offence of rape is by every standard a grave offence which often leaves the victim traumatised and dehumanised. A light sentence as in the case of the appellants must never be imposed. This may have the unsavoury effect of turning rape into a past-time by our flippant youths.”

Rhodes-vivour, JSC at p. 420, paras. A-B:

“The prosecutrix suffered an ordeal that was the stuff of nightmares. A ferocious and indiscriminate attack by two callous, wicked men. To my mind where, as in this case there is overwhelming compelling evidence that two men took turns to rape a defenseless young girl in degrading and horrific circumstances, I think the appellants should forfeit their place in a decent society for a much longer period. Three years in prison cannot be adequate for such an act.”

Blogger’s Note:

In the case, the Appellants were charged at the High Court of Ogun State on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit a felony (rape), and rape. They were found guilty of the offences and were accordingly convicted and sentenced – 1 year imprisonment for conspiracy to commit rape; and 3 years imprisonment for rape itself. The Appellants’ appeal up to the Supreme Court was dismissed. The Supreme Court was however not satisfied with the 3 years sentence for the offence of rape bearing in mind that section 358 of the Criminal Code Law of Ogun State provides for possible sentence of life imprisonment. Although the trial Court was not bound to sentence the Appellants to life imprisonment, the trial Court had the discretion to sentence them for more number of years instead of the 3 years pronounced. Rhodes-Vivour, JSC was of the view that since there was no cross-appeal, there was nothing that could be done on what he described as “strange sentence”.

I agree that the Appellants deserved more! Indeed persons found guilty of rape should be severely punished. You may read some views expressed here.

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