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There was a mild drama at the Ogba Magistarte Court sitting in Lagos State, following the arraignment of a Senior Secondary School 2 pupil, simply identified as Joseph, for allegedly punching his neighbour, one Harry, in the mouth.
Harry and Joseph – both 16 years old – are neighbours in the Shogunle area of Lagos State.
He reportedly inflicted injury on Joseph because the latter refused his request for money to buy sachet water.
It was reported that Harry had wanted to buy a soft drink in the neighbourhood on December 15, 2018, around 8pm when Joseph approached him.
But Joseph denied the allegation that he assaulted Harry for refusing to give him money.
He said he resorted to assault to recover his phone which he claimed was stolen during his encounter with Harry and his friend that day.
It was gathered that the victim’s mother reported the assault at the Shogunle Police Station and Joseph was arrested.
Harry told the police that Joseph’s friends also joined in beating him that day, adding that he was rescued by his class teacher who chanced upon the assault.
He said, “I was on my way to buy a soft drink on the street around 7pm that day when I saw the boy (Joseph). I tried to avoid him because he was troublesome. He stopped me and asked me to give him money to buy sachet water. When I said I did not have money, he slapped me. He searched my pockets and threatened to kill me. We later went on our separate ways.
“About an hour later, my grandma sent me on an errand. While I was returning home, I met him and some boys. He grabbed me and punched me in the mouth. He dragged me on the ground and beat me mercilessly. I was bleeding heavily. He and his gang members took me to a quiet place and beat me to a pulp. Luckily, I saw one of my schoolteachers passing by. He heard my voice and intervened. They ran away.”
Joseph, in his statement, admitted to punching Harry. He, however, said Harry reported him to his (Harry’s) elder brother, who avenged the assault on the same day.
He said, “I was coming back from where I went to play football that evening when I saw a friend of mine (Harry), who we usually play ball together. I told him to help me get sachet water to drink. He said he did not have money and I chided him.
“Next thing, I started playing with him and his friend. In the process, they removed my phone and left. When I discovered that, I went to their houses, but I did not see them. When I later saw one of them (Harry), I punched him in the mouth. He went to report me to his elder brother who confronted me. He slapped me and took me to their street. Some boys joined him to beat me.
“I punched him (Harry) because my phone was missing; not because he did not give me money to buy sachet water. I have been collecting money from him for a long time.”
On January 14, 2018, a police prosecutor, Inspector Ben Emuerhi, brought Joseph before an Ogba Magistrate’s Court on two counts of assault.
The charges read in part, “That you Joseph, and others at large, on December 15, 2018, at 7pm, on Fabukade Street, Shogunle, Lagos State, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did unlawfully assault one Harry by punching him in the mouth and causing him to have injury, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 173 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.”
The presiding magistrate, Mrs O. Amzat, granted Joseph bail in the sum of N20,000 with one surety in like sum and adjourned the case till February 21, 2019 for mention.
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