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Woman’s presence of mind nails molester

The accused had the audacity to stop his bike and giggle at her, which, however, helped her identify him, the court noted

Woman’s presence of mind nails molester
Representative image (File)

CHENNAI: The presence of mind of a woman to note down the registration number of the two-wheeler used by the man who groped her, and his audacity to stop the vehicle and laugh at her, ensured that her harasser was convicted despite attempts by his lawyer to break the case on technical grounds.

“I had awareness about the possibility of such incidents and the first thing I noted was the registration number of the two-wheeler despite the shock,” the woman told the additional mahila court, Alandur, during the deposition.

The incident happened around noon on January 31, 2019. As she was walking along a street in CBI Colony, Perungudi, the man, Charles Solomon (28), trailed her on a bike and groped her. However, instead of speeding away from the spot, the accused moved away from her, stopped his bike, and giggled at her, the woman said in her testimony.

“Since she was nervous, after going home she was saddened due to the incident and shared with her family and filed a police complaint a week later, on February 7,” the magistrate noted and observed that the victim also identified the accused in the dock during the trial.

The Thoraipakkam police booked the accused under Sections 354 IPC (outraging modesty of woman) and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Woman (TNPHW) Act.

Lawyers noted that in several cases, women turn hostile to the prosecution’s case for various reasons. This case, however, was different. When the lawyer representing the accused tried to put the woman in a spot asking how it was possible for her to exactly note down the registration number when she had mentioned in her complaint that the bike sped away, the woman stood her ground and said that she had enough awareness and took the registration number of the bike to her memory.

“The testimony of the victim is reliable and the defence has not impeached credibility of her evidence,” judicial magistrate R Vaishnavi noted, and also accepted the reason given with regard to the identification of the accused in the dock during trial (him giggling at her after the act). Hence, she was able to remember the face of the accused is credible and trustworthy and does not require any corroboration, said the court.

The judge also dismissed the defence’s arguments questioning the one-week delay in filing complaint, as the woman clearly deposed that she was embarrassed to open up to her family members.

The prosecution, too, strengthened its case by producing CCTV footage that showed the presence of the accused in the area. The court found the accused guilty under Section 354 IPC and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment.

Srikkanth Dhasarathy
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