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Court convicts Bishop Feyi Daniels, sentences him to life imprisonment for rape, sexual assault of 2 church members

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ARINZE NWAFOR, Lagos

 

 

 

An Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court has sentenced a cleric, Oluwafeyiropo Daniels to life imprisonment for raping a 23-year old woman name withheld), who served as an assistant pastor in his church.

 

Justice Rahman Oshodi, on Friday, also sentenced Daniels, who is the founder and lead pastor of the iReign Christian Ministry to three years imprisonment for sexually assaulting another member of his church, aged 19 years.

 

Oshodi held that prosecution had established the ingredients of rape and sexual assault against against the convict, beyond reasonable doubt.

 

Daniels was convicted on two counts; count 1 and 3, out of the amended four-count charge brought against him by the Lagos state government.

 

The judge said, “I must find, as I do now, that the defendant had sexual intercourse with the first claimant.”

 

Oshodi ordered that the cleric should spend the rest of his life at the Maximum Custodial Facility, Kirikiri, Lagos.

 

He held that the evidence of the first prosecution witness was corroborated with that of the third witness.

 

However, the judge discharged and acquitted the convict of count two which is the rape of another survivor (name withheld) after he found that there was an element of consent.

 

“The prosecutory seemed to believe that the sexual activity was what caused her to meet someone who wanted to help her,” Oshodi said.

 

The judge said that although the convict had lied of having a sexual encounter with the survivor, he cannot convict based on the fact that Daniels told a lie.

 

The judge also discharged and acquitted the convict of count four which is the attempted rape of another member of his  church (name withheld), who was at the time a 19-year old girl.

 

Oshodi said the convict had no regard for truth during his trial and had committed the offences using his dominant character and position as a clergy.

 

“I was appalled at the defendant’s denial of the extrajudicial statement he read. There are manifest contradictions in his statement,” Oshodi said.

 

“I do not believe the defendant, he is a liar,” the Judge continued.

 

Upon Daniels’ conviction, the judge said, “Oluwafeyiropo Daniels, I have convicted you of sexually violating two women who were members of your church.

 

“The first one, you raped ferociously and caused her so much pain.

 

“The second, you sexually assaulted using your dominant character and position as a clergy.

 

“These offences are grievous, as rape attracts life imprisonment while sexual assault is punishable with three years imprisonment.”

 

Oshodi said that although the defence counsel, Adebayo Adegbite, urged the court to use its discretion in its sentencing, the Lagos State law has a mandatory sentence for rape.

 

Oshodi sentenced the convict to life imprisonment and three years imprisonment, both of which are to run concurrently.

 

He also ordered the name of the convict to be entered in the Lagos State Sexual Offences Register.

 

The defense counsel, in his allocutus, asked the court to temper justice with mercy and consider that the convict was a first time offender with no previous charges.

 

He said the convict was a young man with two young children, and a breadwinner of his family.

 

The prosecution, led by Babajide Boye, however, urged the court to convict Daniels, also referred to as Bishop Daniels, as charged.

 

During trial, the prosecution called five witnesses while the defence also called five witnesses through whom various documents were tendered in evidence.

 

According to the prosecution, the convict raped his assistant pastor in his home in Ikota Villa Estate, sometimes in June 2020.

 

The prosecution also said that the convict sexually assaulted one of his church members by forcefully sucking and touching her breast without her consent, sometimes in April 2021 at the church office in Ikeja.

 

The offences contravened Section 260 (2)  and 263 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

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