High Court upholds Kenyan student’s conviction for rape

Holding that there may not be any independent witness to prove the offence against the accused in a case of rape, the Madras High Court upheld the conviction of a student from Kenya for raping a Kenyan girl at her house in Salem. However, it reduced the quantum of punishment from life sentence to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

Chennai

Hearing an appeal from the student challenging his conviction and life sentence awarded by the Mahila Court in Salem, a division bench comprising Justice R Subbiah and Justice R Pongiappan pointed out that the court cannot expect the testimony of the woman to be corroborated by independent witness unlike other criminal offences. “The court has to only go by the deposition of the victim.”
Though it pointed out that the court need not always rely upon the deposition of the prosecutrix as a gospel truth to convict an accused, the bench added that if her testimony is free from any suspicion, it would inspire the court’s confidence. “The sole testimony of the prosecutrix can be treated as sterling quality to base a conviction without being corroborated by any other prosecution witnesses.”However, considering the accused’s age and that he had come to India to pursue higher studies, the court reduced the life sentence to that of 10 years’ RI.
The accused had come to Maharashtra for higher studies and became friends with the girl in 2012. When he came to Salem in 2014 to pursue MBA, the girl got admitted in the same college for MSc. She resided at a house in Athikarapatti in Salem, and he stayed in the same vicinity. As per the case, he took an opportune time to rape her after gagging her with a dupatta and tying her to a bed with shoelaces. Though his counsel cited certain inconsistencies in the case to seek the conviction be set aside, additional public prosecutor M Prabhavathi argued that such minor discrepancy would not go to the root of the case, adding that her testimony was sufficient to convict the accused.

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