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Jail sentence in child abuse case overturned over unreliable evidence

Aishath Mihna Nasih
24 May 2017, MVT 16:30
High Court of Maldives PHOTO:Nishan Ali/Mihaaru
Aishath Mihna Nasih
24 May 2017, MVT 16:30

The High Court on Tuesday overruled a verdict which sentenced a man to 24 years for allegedly sexually abusing his daughter, stating that the verdict was based on the testimony of the child who suffers from a mental disorder.

The initial sentence issued by the Magistrate Court of Shaiviyani atoll in August 2015 found the father guilty of sexually abusing his 16-year-old daughter between the years 2009 and 2014. The sentence was mainly based on the testimonies of the victim during the investigation, her family, the children’s centre and some others individuals.

The medical report of the victim states that the daughter has an intelligence level of an 8-year-old despite being 16 years of age. Hence, she is also registered in the list of disabled people.

The High Court’s verdict stated that as the only evidences presented to the court are the testimonies of the victim, and as the victim is a person with special needs, it is not safe to pronounce the defendant guilty.

The High Court added that the evidences presented to the court do not fall under the category of the five required evidence necessary to find someone guilty of abusing a child.

While the Constitution states that five particular evidences are required to prove child abuse cases, the High Court has occasionally concluded cases that presented evidence insufficient to the amount stated in the Constitution. However, the court noted the lack of evidence submitted in this case.

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