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PENETRATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT OF RAPE

Dictum

The essential and most important ingredient of the offence of rape is penetration and unless penetration is proved, the prosecution cannot be said to have proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. Penetration however slight is sufficient and it is not necessary to prove an injury or the rupture of the hymen to constitute the crime of rape. See: – EDET OKON IKO VS STATE (2001) 7 SCNJ 391. OKOYOMON VS STATE (1973) 1 SC 21, R VS ALLEN 9C & p 31.

— S.D. Bage, JSC. State v Masiga (2017) – SC

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MEANING OF RAPE IN LEGAL PARLANCE

“Rape” in legal parlance means a forcible sexual intercourse with a girl or a woman without her giving consent to it. The most important and essential ingredient of the offence is penetration and consent of the victim is a complete defence to the offence.

— Kalgo, JSC. Okon Iko v State (2001) – SC.177/2001

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PENETRATION IS THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT OF RAPE

The essential and most important ingredient of the offence of rape is penetration and unless penetration is proved the prosecution must fail (See R. v. Hill, 1 East P.C 439). But penetration however slight, is sufficient and it is not necessary to prove an injury or the rupture of the hymen to constitute the crime of rape. (See R. v.Allen 9C &p.31).

— Kalgo, J.S.C. Okon Iko v State (2001) – SC.177/2001

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SCAR OR INJURY ON BODY MAY NOT PASS AS EVIDENCE OF RAPE

In the case of Ibeakanma v. Queen (1963) 2 SCNLR 191, the appellant was charged with rape in that he had sexual intercourse with a married woman against her will. The appellant denied the offence. The trial Judge relied on the scar on the appellant’s shoulder as a result of a bite by the complainant during the intercourse, as corroborative evidence and he convicted the appellant. The Supreme Court found that in the absence of any other evidence implicating the appellant on the offence of rape, the scar on the appellant’s shoulder alone did not constitute corroboration. The appellant was discharged and acquitted.

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ABSENCE OF MEDICAL REPORT IN RAPE CASE NOT FATAL

The absence of a medical report in a case of rape is not fatal to the case of the Prosecution if there are other factors to corroborate the commission of the offence. – EBIOWEI TOBI, J.C.A. Abdul v. State (2021)

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CORROBORATION IS REQUIRED FOR RAPE CONVICTION

In R.v. Ross (1925) 18 Cr. App. Rep. 141 at 142. Hewart, L.C.J. on facts which are not too dissimilar to those in the present case had this to say, namely:- “In a case of this kind, corroboration of the story of the prosecutrix, though not essential in law, is required in practice. It is the well-settled practice to warn juries that it is not safe to convict on the uncorroborated testimony of the prosecutrix. To tell the jury that something is corroboration which is not corroboration may have a more unfortunate result than the omission of any warning on the matter. Here a matter was treated as corroboration which was not corroboration … The conviction must be quashed.”

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DANGER OF CONVICTING FOR RAPE ON UNCORROBORATED EVIDENCE

It is an established practice in criminal law that though corroboration of the evidence of the complainant in a rape case is not a statutory requirement, it is, in practice, always looked for. In other words, it is now a well established practice, by the courts in Nigeria, that in cases of rape the evidence of the complainant must be corroborated. The nature of the corroboration must necessarily depend on the peculiar facts of each case. Where rape is denied by the accused the sort of corroboration the courts must look for is medical evidence showing injury to the private part of the complainant, injury to other parts of her body which may have been occasioned in a struggle, seminal stains on her clothes or the clothes of the accused or on the place where the offence is alleged to have been committed. Where the prosecution evidence is not sufficiently strong to warrant a conviction, it would be unsafe to convict merely on the accusation of the woman who alleges that she has been raped. The Judge must warn himself against the danger of convicting a man on such uncorroborated testimony. See lbeakanma v. Queen (1963) 2 SCNLR at 195; Reekie v. Queen (1954) 14 WACA 501.

— Katsina-Alu, JSC. Okon Iko v State (2001) – SC.177/2001

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