Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chinese Rape: Court Awaits Advice From Justice Ministry

By Samson Folarin, 
Punch, November 22, 2013

The trial of the alleged attempted rape by two Chinese men of a 20-year-old Nigerian girl, Oluchi Chukwuemeka, was stalled on Thursday as the court said  it was waiting for response from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Federal Ministry of Justice.

Our correspondent, however, learnt that the victim had been under pressure to withdraw the case from court to avoid a diplomatic row between Nigeria and China.

This had led to the matter being taken over by the Federal Ministry of Justice from Railway Police Command.

PUNCH Metro had reported on September 19 that Chen Gang and Zhao Weidong, both of Chinese nationality working with China Civil Engineering Construction Company, were arraigned at an Ebute Meta Magistrate’s Court in Lagos for attempted rape.

The victim, Chukwuemeka, was said to have screamed while Gang was struggling to undress her in the store room.

Gang was Chukwuemeka’s boss in one of the departments of the company.

Weidong was accused of allegedly taking the victim’s phone and throwing it in the toilet, thinking she recorded the act.

The men had been arraigned on seven counts of sexual harassment indecent assault, perversion of justice and willful damage before they were admitted to bail.

As of October 17, when the matter was slated for trial, the court did not sit and the court registrar had to give a new date.

The victim was said to have drafted a withdrawal letter which was supposed to be presented to the court on the next adjourned date.

However, our correspondent learnt that some human rights groups rose up to ensure justice was served in the matter.

The case was said to have attracted the attention of the Federal Ministry of Justice which demanded the case file from the police.

On November 21 (Thursday), when the matter was brought to court, the magistrate, Mr. K.O Ogundare, said court processes must be suspended till the release of the DPP’s advice.

“Since the matter has been taken for DPP’s advice, there is nothing I can do about it,” he said.

Present in court were the victim, the two defendants, the police prosecutor, Inspector Moses Uaedmuvbo, and the defence counsel.

The matter was adjourned till December 11.
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