Relying on the testimony of a sexual assault victim with intellectual disability – whose testimony was recorded with the help of an interpreter – and the eyewitness account of the man's minor daughter, a sessions court sentenced a 49-year-old man to five years of rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting his 21-year-old niece.
On October 27, 2016, the five-year-old witnessed her father assault her cousin and informed the victim's mother about it. On being asked, the victim, who is unable to speak, told her mother about the assault with gestures. The minor later informed her mother too about the incident.
The police and the magistrate recorded the victim's statement with the help of an interpreter who works with children having intellectual disabilities and is the principal of a school meant for such children. The victim's deposition was recorded in a similar manner before the sessions court as well.
The man's minor daughter had testified against him before the court as an eyewitness and his wife too had deposed against him in the court as the child had informed her about the incident.
On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge Sanjashree J. Gharat said in her judgement while deciding the quantum of punishment, that the accused is the maternal uncle of the victim and the victim is intellectually disabled. “The accused being a close relative had an opportunity to visit the residence of the victim. He took undue advantage of the said acquaintance and committed the serious act...”
The court considered the gravity of the offence, deciding the sentence and imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on the man. The man had taken the defence he was being falsely implicated as he had a drinking problem and had a dispute with his wife. Refusing to accept his defence, the court said that it had the occasion to see the victim and had found her intellectually disabled. It further said that it is very difficult to tutor an intellectually disabled person to resolve personal scores between husband and wife.