Local Goa News

Monday, September 26, 2016

What transpired in the 90 mins before Scarlett died?

Panaji: The CBI case against the accused in the Scarlett Keeling death case did not hold water before the Goa Children's court as the prosecution primarily did not give evidence as to what actually happened to the victim in the hour-and-half before her death in the early hours on February 18, 2008.
On the day of the incident, Scarlett was seen alive at 4.30am. Her body was found on the Anjuna beach between 6-6.30am.

Inconsistencies in witness statements, lapses on the part of Goa police, and the refusal of prime witness Michael Manion alias Mike Masala to testify before the court proved fatal to the prosecution case. Glaring contradictions in evidence tilted the balance in the favour of the two accused — Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho, leading to their acquittal.
The Goa children's court president Vandana Tendulkar, in her 107-page judgement, observed that there was no ocular evidence or any other type of evidence to fill in the hour-and-half time gap between the time when the victim was last seen alive and the time when her body was found.
"There is no material on record to show as to how and by whom the victim girl was undressed and where the clothes worn by her on the relevant night were. Such a vital missing link in the case of prosecution leaves the so-called chain of incriminating circumstances incomplete and unconnected," Tendulkar said.
The clothes, attached under panchanama, were not identified by witness Murli Sagar, who had seen her alive for the last time. When Sagar had seen her alive at 4.30am, the victim was wearing a sports bra and shorts and D'Souza was holding her since she was not in any condition to stand. During his deposition, Sagar had told the court that he did not remember the colour of the clothes worn by the victim.
Stating that Sagar consumed narcotic drugs, which is as per the his own statement, the court president held that his sole testimony that D'Souza was last seen with the victim, which is not corroborated by any other witness of the prosecution, cannot be accepted.
Court also found that another witness had noticed that there were no clothes on the victim's dead body, except for a brassiere. The court remarked that the brassiere was not attached by PSI Laxi Amonkar.
Referring to the last seen theory, argued by the prosecution that the accused D'Souza was with the minor before the incident, the judge held that in absence of Masala this major incriminating circumstantial evidence remained unproven. The court did not accept the 'last seen theory' as the place where the victim and accused were seen in the early morning hours "is open to public and on the beach".
"Otherwise, the records of this case reveal that the statements of witnesses are recorded by different agencies, at different points of time, starting from February 2008 till July 2008, and their statements have considerable improvements at every stage, thereby making the case of prosecution doubtful," Tendulkar observed.
The accused Samson D'Souza was charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, administering drugs and sexual assault and the other accused, Placido Carvalho, was charged for abetment of offence.
Ejaz Khah appear for the CBI, while M D'Souza appeared for Samson and P Naik for Carvalho.

TOI Goa News

No comments:

Post a Comment