Court allowing the perpetrator of aggravated sexual assault to meet the child victim – Press Conference

Bengaluru, 23 December, 2014

Today a press conference was organised by human rights and civil society activists at The Press Club of Bangalore, at 1:30 PM. The press conference was addressed by:

1. Manohar Elavarthi, State Coordination Committee Member, Swaraj Abhiyan
2. Mathew Philip, Director, SICHREM
3. Gowri, Mahila Munnade
4. Akhila Vidyasandra, lawyer
They publicly appealed to Suja Jones, not to abide by the Order of the Hon’ble High Court, permitting the perpetrator of aggravated sexual assault with the victim. They also said that the Order of the Hon’ble High Court is against the law and against the child rights and constitution of India.

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Here is the contents of the Press Release shared at the press conference:

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 Predicament of Suja Jones

Suja Jones, mother of three young children and wife of an employee of French Consulate, Bengaluru Pascal Mazurier, had lodged a complaint in June 2012 with the police that her daughter who was aged 3 years 10 months was raped and sodomised by her husband. She had to face great amount of difficulty to even get her complaint registered. 

The police filed charge sheet against the accused for having committed an offence under section 376 of IPC (the law of POCSO Act came into existence three weeks after the complaint). The learned Sessions Judge, framed charge of Section 377 IPC as there were sufficient evidence against the accused Pascal Mazurier. 

While the proceedings were thus pending law relating sexual abuse has seen phenomenal changes bringing of changes in the definition of Rape, severity of punishment, presumption of absence of consent et al. 

The procedures of conducting cases also has changed. Today all the cases are conducted before a special court of child rights. So is the case of the daughter of Suja Jones. There have been number on instances where the accused who has committed heinous crime against his own daughter has been going to the media claiming his innocence and his love for his children. He has been harassing  Suja Jones over a period of time. 

First he sought permission to meet the children in the Family Court that was denied. Thereafter he sought for rights of his parents (grandparents of children) to visit the children. The same was permitted. The Hon’ble High Court permitted him to meet his two sons on some weekends by the order of the Hon’ble High Court. There are number of instances he has tried to influence the children. 

Now the accused emboldened by the orders has sought for visiting all the children for Christmas. Hon’ble High Court has permitted him to meet the children including the victim on Chrtitmas!!!

It is unfortunate that while the procedures of cases of such nature are to be conducted in accordance with the understanding of law, the existing POCSO Act, the order of the Hon’ble High Court is oblivious of the same. 

a) The law presumes guilt of the accused person under section 29. It is the accused who has to disprove the charges levelled against him. In the present case the trial is pending the victim child is to be examined yet. 

b) The law prescribes that the victim child shouldn’t be exposed to accused person nor shall come into contact with person during the investigation or during the proceedings in the court.  

c) Pascal Mazurier has been trying to meet the children on number of occasions just using the claim of his love of children with help of some organisations and some of the media.

Hon’ble High Court has not looked into the interest of the victim child and has passed such an order permitting the accused person to meet the victim child. The same is against the law that is to ensure that the victim child is protected.  Hon’ble High Court order is insensitive to the rights of the children and the harm that may happen to the psyche of the victim child and the other two boys who may get confused. All the efforts of accused somehow to gain sympathy of all and to influence the children is evident. 

The Hon’ble High Court order adds to the misery of the mother of the victim who is to expose the child to such a situation. 

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A child who has suffered sexual abuse from a close family member goes through enormous trauma, there is a sense of betrayal, a loss of trust, a deep hopelessness and traumatic sexualization.
 
In the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study one of the main routes to healing is when the child discloses the abuse and the caring adults believe the child and take steps to protect the child from further abuse.
 
One of the worst betrayals which causes profound trauma to the child is when the child is disbelieved, or hounded or harassed for having disclosed. A case in point is when the perpetrator is allowed to meet and interact with the child. The child realises that even after having spoken out, he or she is helpless against the perpetrator, who apparently is more powerful than the protectors. In this circumstance the child is terrified that the perpetrator will exact revenge for having spoken. This is a primary way perpetrators try to ensure the child retracts his or her statement and allows the perpetrator to go free.
 
– Dr Shaibya Saldanha, Founder, Enfold Proactive Health Trust
 
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The speakers spoke about the initiation of a nation-wide campaign on this issue and appealed to public to join hands in this struggle for justice.
For more information, contact: 96322 23460/ 87628 04192 .
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