(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A magistrate court sitting in Enugu North council Area of Enugu state on Monday arraigned and ordered that a couple, Mr Jude and Ifeoma Ozougwu, be reminded in Correctional Service centre Nsukka for attempted murder of their 10 year old housemaid, Miss. Nneoma Nnadi, pending on legal advice by the state Director of public prosecution DPP.
The couple, who were arrested by the state police Command last weekend, over the grievous harm caused the little girl, were arraigned on a 3 count charge bothering on attempted murder.
Mrs. Ozougwu 24, and mother of three, had used a hot electric iron to burn parts of the body of the 10 year old housemaid, after piercing nails severally on her head, as well as inserted pepper on her private part.
The couple were charged with unlawful attempt to kill, unlawful intent to harm and engage a little girl in hazardous, injurious and exploitative work against her physical and socio-psychological development.
According to the court, the crime was committed between January and July 2020 at number 3 Akonameze Street, Thinkers Corner, Enugu.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Joseph Agu, refused to admit the defendants to bail after their lawyer, Emeka Orji made move to that effect.
Agu said: “In exercise of my discretion, the offence is grievous going by the count one and count three of the charges; even as the girl is still hospitalised as well as the overwhelming public outcry; I reject the application for bail.
“I hereby remand the couple in Nsukka correctional facility pending further advice by the state’s Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
“The matter is adjourned until Aug. 13 after hearing from the DPP,’’Agu hinted
The police prosecutor, Mr. Paschal Nwachukwu, had earlier argued that the court had no jurisdiction on the matter because of the gravity of the offences especially count one and count three of the charge.
Nwachukwu said that going by the lack of jurisdiction of the magistrate court to entertain the matter, the issue of bail remained premature, uncalled for and against the dictates of the law. “The evidences of this matter is grievous and weighty.
“How can one explain nailing a child as was done to Jesus Christ, using hot pressing iron, sharp and dangerous objects on her even to her private part,’’ Nwachukwu, who is the officer-in-charge legal services of Enugu State Police Command, said.
But, the defence counsel of the Ozougwus, Barrister Orji, prayed the court to discountenance the various public sentiments on the matter and grant bail to his clients.
Orji noted that the offence was bailable and prayed the court to use its discretion to grant the Ozougwus bail.
“This couple run a responsible family and I believe if they are granted bail; they will attend to the court processes religiously.