The accused, a resident of Santacruz, was lodged in jail for over a year. Among the submissions made by his lawyer was that the investigation is complete, and that a chargesheet has been filed and there will be a delay in the commencement of the trial due to the pandemic. The court said the material against the accused showed that he could be given a maximum punishment of seven years.
“The accused will be available for trial. The trial will take time to proceed. Examination of children in pandemic will be delayed. The material on record, medical reports and statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (before a magistrate) are regarding (the accused) showing pornographic videos to children. The allegations of aggravated sexual assault can be accepted on face of it. The material in respect of penetrative sexual assault is not strong and obvious,” the court said while granting bail to the accused.
Since the minors, a girl aged nine and her seven-year-old brother, lived in the same neighbourhood as the accused, among conditions set by the court is that he will not reside in the same area.
According to the prosecution, the accused was arrested on November 26, 2019, for showing porn to minors. The court granted him bail in January, but a second case came to light and he was arrested again. The prosecution claimed that the second incident also took place around the same time as the first, but the minor was scared of disclosing it. After she finally told her tuition teacher, the second FIR was filed. In this case, the accused is booked for showing porn to two minor siblings and sexually abusing them.
The accused sought bail in the second case on grounds including that he had undergone an angiography last year and requires regular medication. The prosecution had opposed his bail stating that he was a habitual offender. The court, however, said both the offences were allegedly committed around the same time and it was not a repeat offence as he had not been convicted in the first case.
The court took into consideration medical evidence, which showed no injuries as the minor girl managed to escape before penetrative assault by the accused.
A new standard operating procedure issued on Friday for the functioning of courts during the pandemic states that courts can resume work in two shifts with recording of evidence, including witness depositions to be carried out in the first half.
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