In a significant legal development, a Chief Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, delivered a verdict on Monday, September 25, exonerating Professor David Ogbonna, a lecturer at Rivers State University, from allegations of sexual assault made against him by a female student.
Professor David Ogbonna had been accused of unlawful and indecent sexual assault against a twenty-one-year-old female student of the institution. The charges were brought forward by the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) in Port Harcourt on June 28, 2022.
During the court proceedings, presided over by Chief Magistrate Poromon Menenen, it was ruled that Professor Ogbonna should be discharged and acquitted. The court found that the prosecution team failed to substantiate their case. One key aspect was the absence of crucial evidence.
The phone the female student claimed to have used to record her conversation with Professor Ogbonna on the day of the alleged incident was not presented as an exhibit during the trial. Additionally, the disk on which she purportedly transferred the recording was not submitted as evidence.
Furthermore, the magistrate noted that the underwear the female student alleged contained semen stains after the alleged assault was never subjected to forensic examination.
The prosecution also failed to summon the health worker who conducted the medical examination on the female student to testify. Moreover, there was a lack of testimony from a person named Chidinma, whom the female student claimed left her and Professor Ogbonna alone in the lecturer’s office after their initial presence.
In light of these critical gaps in evidence, Chief Magistrate Menenen concluded that there was insufficient substantiation of the charges of unlawful and indecent assault against Professor David Ogbonna. Consequently, Professor Ogbonna was acquitted of all charges in the case.