Mumbai: Man acquitted in POCSO case after 6 yrs in jail as ‘no direct evidence’ found

Mumbai: A man in his twenties who spent over six years in prison being arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 3.5 year old child in 2015, was on Wednesday acquitted by a special court as the prosecution had failed to examine the child. The court found there was no direct evidence against him.

The child’s father had filed the complaint against the Vakola resident, who worked as a domestic help at a home in his opposite building. His in-laws lived on the first floor of that building. His complaint stated that his daughter was riding a cycle in the building’s compound and the man had asked her to come up the stairs and sexually assaulted her.

The court designated under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act said that the evidence is not sufficient, cogent and trustworthy to convict the accused. It said that though the accused was kept in jail for considerable time pending trial, the prosecution has failed to bring the girl to give evidence.

The girl’s father had testified in favour of the prosecution’s case. The court said his evidence is not of direct witness and agreed with the submission of the defence that the father had delayed the trial and rather driven the course of the trial to see that the accused is kept behind bars for a longer period and has ultimately refused to bring the girl to lead evidence. It said further that his evidence is not inspiring confidence.

The father had provided the Santacruz police with CCTV footage of the building. Special POCSO judge Priti Kumar (Ghule) said regarding the footage, that when the child was climbing the stairs, the accused was climbing behind her, but was not seen talking with, meeting or signaling her to come along. It noted that she had not followed him and within seconds had come down the stairs. Referring to the body language of the girl, it said she is seen climbing down the stairs calmly and is not in panic, crying or rushing down. It said that had the alleged incident happened, her body language would have changed.

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