Mumbai: A special court designated under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on Saturday sentenced a man to five years in jail for sexually assaulting a three-year-old child who was his neighbour.

Special judge under the POCSO Act MA Baraliya also slapped a fine of Rs15,000 on the accused. Special Public Prosecutor Meera Choudhari said the court did not take the testimony of the child as she was only a little over six years old when she came to depose.

She was brought from her hometown in Bihar and was not able to converse with the court. The police had also not taken the child’s statement after the incident due to her tender age.

The court relied on the testimony of the child’s parents and a doctor who had examined the child and said the stains on the child's thighs were that of dried semen, but said there was no evidence of penetrative sexual assault.

The incident had taken place in February 2016. The family – which comprises the child’s mother who worked as domestic help, father - who was unemployed and father’s sister who was 10 to 12-year-old, were at dinner that night.

As the rice fell short, the mother of the child had asked her sister-in-law to get some rice from the hotel. The toddler had followed her aunt out of the house. When the father’s sister came back, the child was not with her. She went in search of her niece and brought her back home after a while.

The child’s mother saw that the toddler looked frightened. Her sister-in-law told her that she had seen the man in the neighbouring house (the house had no door not curtains) had made the child lie on his stomach.

The child’s mother on noticing that her daughter’s slacks were pulled down slightly, checked her and found some sticky substance on her thighs. The matter was then reported to the police.

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Free Press Journal