CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday suspended the life sentence awarded to a 78-year-old man by a trial court for raping a minor girl three years ago. The Court also granted him bail.
Shyamsundar Swain of Nayagarh was convicted and sentenced “to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life that is the remainder of his natural life” by the Special POCSO Court on January 14, 2020. Swain had challenged his conviction in the HC.
The division bench of Justice SK Mishra and Justice Savitri Ratho said, “In view of the nature of evidence discussed, the submissions of the counsels, the advanced age of the petitioner, the threat posed to elderly persons by the Covid-19 pandemic and the bleak chance of the appeal being heard in the near future, we are inclined to suspend the sentence and allow this application for bail upon appeal.” The HC left it to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge to release Swain on bail on such terms and condition as it deems fit.
Petitioner’s counsel submitted that the medical evidence does not support the evidence of the victim. The victim had alleged that the accused committed sexual intercourse with her and it went on for two hours and there was discharge of semen. Medical reports, however, stated that the accused was not found to be potent and incapable of sexual intercourse due to senility. The medical officer, who had examined the victim, did not find any marks of injury over her private parts. Swain was arrested on July 15, 2017.