11 years after arrest for minor’s rape, HC acquits teacher | Mumbai News | #teacher | #children | #kids

MUMBAI: Eleven years after a teacher was arrested for allegedly raping a primary student, the Bombay high court on Monday acquitted the man, holding that the conviction cannot be based on “probabilities”, but needs cogent evidence, which it found lacking, and directed his immediate release.
A bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and NR Borkar set aside a November 2013 conviction by a Raigad-Alibag trial court that had sentenced him to life imprisonment. The teacher was 32 years old when he appealed in 2014. He was lodged at Kolhapur central prison since his arrest in 2010.
The child had alleged that “her drawing teacher” had committed the crime after obstructing her on the way to a washroom and that “another male teacher had gagged her”. She identified the accused in court and said she knew he was not her teacher, but “was informed that he is her drawing teacher”.
After analysing the evidence, the HC said the child’s case was that the crime occurred during the recess, but the accused had left the school premises an hour earlier. There were eight prosecution and five defence witnesses. The HC said defence witnesses must be given “equal weightage”.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court directives on cases related to sexual assault)

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