Goa

Goa children’s court hit by lack of judge, infrastructure

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A top judge here said that the special children’s court in the state was unable to function efficiently as there was no full-time judge assigned to it, and forensic tests were delayed; infrastructure too was lacking.

Incidentally, the Goa Children’s Court is trying the case of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling from Britain who was drugged and left to die in the state’s Anjuna beach February 2008. The case has been dragging in court for the last three years. ”The Goa Children’s Act is a beautiful act aimed at protecting children. Unfortunately there is no infrastructure, no full-time judge who sits six days a week,” principal sessions judge Anuja Prabhudessai said, addressing a workshop here.

Prabhudessai said that there were 160 cases involving crimes against children which were pending at the Goa Children’s Court and delay was inevitable. ”Because of the delay, victims are unable to stay on; if they are from outside the state, they leave. We are unable to get both witnesses and victims for the case,” she said. Prabhudessai also said that the crime rate in Goa was increasing and that a very small number of crimes against children were registered and tried. ”The crime rate is increasing. But we know this is not the real crime rate. Many more crimes happen, though only a few are registered and tried,” she said.

The trial of deceased UK teenager Scarlett Keeling’s sexual assaulters is being tried before the Goa Children’s Court. The trial began in 2009, and three judges have heard the case since it first began. In 2008, Keeling was sexually assaulted and left to die at Anjuna beach by two beach shack hands, who stand accused of culpable homicide.

Courtesy: Zee News