Opemipo Jaji, aged 18, was convicted of the rape of an 11 year old girl. Sentencing will take place in June.
Jaji dragged the 11 year old into a park and raped her over a 3 hour period, after she had got off a bus on her way home from school. Jaji had started to follow her, causing her to cross the road three times before starting to run in an attempt to get away.
Jaji took her to a secluded part of the park and forced a glove into her mouth before raping her. He threatened to stab her as she tried to escape twice. Jaji also threatened to take photographs of the victim on his mobile phone and send them to everyone at her school.
She was eventually allowed to dress and ran home, bleeding. She had to undergo an operation for her injuries.
In terms of the likely sentence, key considerations are the aggravating features. They include:
The age of the victim
The length of time over which the rapes took place
The threat of taking pictures on his mobile phone
The threat to kill the victim as she tried to escape
The injuries the victim suffered.
Clearly this is a very serious example of a very serious offence and when taken with his previous convictions, Jaji can certainly expect a very long time in prison. It will be necessary to examine whether Jaji is ‘dangerous’ within the meaning of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and indeed the Judge said that a life sentence was an option.
Previous convictions and the sex offenders register
Jaji had previously pleaded guilty to a sexual assault of a 12 year old girl in 2011 and convicted of possession of indecent images in 2012. So why was he not subject to the notification requirements (the ‘sex offenders register’)?
For the assault in 2011, he was given a 10 month Detention and Training Order which comprises a custodial and community sentence. A DTO is a sentence which triggers notification but only where the sentence is one of 12 months imprisonment, see R v M, B and H 2010 EWCA Crim 42 for an example.
For the indecent images, he was given an 18-month Youth Rehabilitation Order. A YRO is not a sentence that triggers notification.
For those reasons, he was not subject to notification.
Robert Bryan, a barrister at One Paper Buildings, explains the notification requirements in relation to this case in more detail here.
The maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. An important consideration will be of course the facts of the offence, any previous history of sexual offences, and the offender’s age.
In this case, the Judge made it clear that life imprisonment was an option. Sentencing will take place in June and in the intervening period, reports will be prepared to assist the Judge in the assessment of the correct sentence.
There will be an assessment of ‘dangerousness’. This is a test in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to determine whether it is necessary to sentence the offender to a sentence which has an added element of public protection. This will either be an EDS (Extended sentence) or life imprisonment.
Without knowing all of the facts, it is very difficult to predict, however don’t expect the assessment of dangerousness to go in Jaji’s favour. What is certain however, is that whatever the sentence, Jaji will be in prison for a long, long time.
We will of course cover the sentencing hearing when it happens.
Image courtesy of the Daily Mail