CHENNAI: In a first-of-its-kind verdict, the Chennai Mahila court sentenced a 30-year-old jewellery shop owner to life imprisonment on charges of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl child.
The jeweller, Shahees (27) was found guilty and sentenced under Section 6 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) even as the mother of the child submitted before the court that her child had not been abused.
The case also involves another 16-year-old accused who, considering his juvenile status, will come under trial before the Juvenile Justice Board. The incident happened on January 16, 2013, when the mother, Devipriya* (name changed) dropped her child Roopa* at Shahees’ shop, as usual before she left for work. On that day, when Devipriya went to the jewellery shop to pick up Roopa, the kid showed symptoms of fever. Examination conducted by doctors at a local hospital helped confirm that the child had several wounds on her body leading them to suspect sexual abuse. The doctors then registered a complaint with the Mambalam all women police station, who picked up the accused duo after investigations.
The judgement was delivered by judge Meena Sathish, who observed that it was impossible to accept the mother’s statement telling the court that her child suffered the injuries in a fall, when medical evidence pointed in the direction of sexual abuse. Subsequently, she sentenced the accused to life besides an additional two-year jail term for inflicting injury on the girl child. The sentences would run concurrently.