'Improper' attempt by police to refresh victim's memory: Sessions Court
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Remarking that the police had made an improper attempt in a sexual assault case by telling the victim to depose in court as per her statement made to the police, a sessions court in Dindoshi said it found an impression of truth in her evidence and convicted the accused.

The court sentenced the carpenter, who resided in the child’s building, to five years of imprisonment for molesting the 11-year-old in the building’s lift in 2015.

The accused’s advocate had pointed out that the girl had deposed during cross-examination that the police had told her that she had to depose similar to what she had stated during recording of her police statement. She had also told that she and her mother had read the contents of their statements and police had told her regarding the statement recorded in 2015.

Additional Sessions Judge DD Khoche said in his judgment, “In such circumstances, though it comes on record that the police had improperly told her to state as per her previous statement and had improperly given it to read to her, it was for refreshing her memory and not tutoring.”

The judge said that though it was “undesirable” and “improper effort of prosecution” to refresh her memory, the court does not find the possibility of her being tutored. “After careful scrutiny of her evidence, the court comes to the conclusion that there is an impression of truth in her evidence even after her aforesaid admissions of police giving guidance to her what to depose,” Judge Khocche stated.

The defence had also pointed to the delay of a few hours in lodging the FIR and called it an afterthought. Regarding this, the court said that, in India, it does not happen that the woman (mother) alone will take the victim immediately to the police station. “Rather, she would prefer to tell the incident to her husband, elder persons from home and then would do necessary as per their advice,” it said.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on the man and directed Rs 20,000 out of the amount to be given to the victim as compensation for the mental shock and injury caused to her due to the offence.

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