Corroborating evidence sufficient for a conviction in child abuse

Muizzu Ibrahim, Haveeru Online
Sep 13, 2012 - 01:53
  • A board marking the world day for prevention of child abuse: High Court has declared that corroborating evidence is sufficient for a conviction in child abuse cases. FILE PHOTO

The High Court yesterday ruled that though sufficient hard evidence as stipulated by the Special Protection to Children, Young, Elderly and Disadvantaged People's Act is not submitted in a child abuse case, corroborating evidence submitted can serve to be enough for a conviction.

The Special Protection to Children, Young, Elderly and Disadvantaged People’s Act states a total 12 hard evidence factors to prove the accused guilty of the crime and that that laws state that a minimum of five factors from the 12 would suffice to prove so.

The court decided so during the appeal of a man from a northern Atoll in the Maldives who was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Magistrate Court of the respective island for sexually abusing a child.

The verdict of the appeal case states that evidence besides that stipulated under Article 47 of the Special Protection to Children, Young, Elderly and Disadvantaged People’s Act can also be accepted by the court as supportive evidence against the accusation made.

It was also noted that the Supreme Court of the Maldives states that a statement provided by the accused admitting to the crime is also considered substantial supportive evidence if the statement had not been given through intimidation or force.
It was further noted that the Judge presiding over the case constitutes the power to divulge into the reasons the accused may deny the charges in a courtroom yet confess outside of it.

The man involved in this case had initially agreed to sexually abusing the minor during questioning by the Police, but had denied committing the crime at the lower court claiming that he had confessed to the crime under physical and emotional duress on the part of the Police. The man claimed that the Police had said that he would not be released from detention until he gives a detailed account of the crime.

However, the High Court verdict states regarding this claim that as the constitution states clearly that no individual can be held in Police custody without a court order, though the Police had said so, it cannot be considered as coercion for the accused to admit to the crime.

The victim had confided in three people regarding the abuse and they all have duly testified at court, while the child had disclosed the details of the crime to the Police and to the lower court while the case was ongoing there as well.

Reflecting on all the supportive evidence gathered it was concluded that it is sufficient proof to prove the accused guilty as per Article 51 of the constitution and thus the High Court backed the lower courts verdict that sentenced the man to 10 years in jail.

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