TNN | Dec 28, 2012, 02.25 AM IST

Rape of foreigners in Goa has left a permanent scar
PANAJI: If Indian women have a hard time bringing to justice their violators, it’s worse for foreign victims of rape. The track record of solving cases of sexual assaults in Goa and bringing the perpetrators to book has been poor if anything to go by the results of investigations involving foreign victims.After much public outcry over four incidents of sexual assaults against foreigners in the last four years, the courts have acquitted the accused in three cases, while the trial of British teenager Scarlett Keeling, who was found dead in 2008 on Anjuna beach, is pending before the court.While exonerating the suspects in the three cases, the courts have castigated the police for lapses in investigation in two separate cases of rape of a Russian woman and a minor. The prosecution‘s charges in rape cases against a few of the politically-linked accused ended in a fiasco partly due to the victim’s fault and also due to the failure of the police to make the cases watertight.In the case of the rape of a 14-year-old German in 2009, the victim and her mother refused to depose in the trial against the former education minister’s son Rohit Monserrate leading to his acquittal.

In another case the same year, local politician John Fernandes got the benefit of doubt as the 26-year-old Russian complainant failed to bring out the true facts of the case before the court. The additional sessions court observed that there were several lapses in investigation and these lapses could have been covered by the prosecution by establishing the case beyond doubt.

In yet another case, a juvenile charged with raping a nine-year-old Russian on Arambol beach in January 2010, was exonerated by the children’s court due to inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses. The court noted that the identification parade involving the accused was not conducted as per the guidelines. The court stated that the prosecution should have examined the artist, who had drawn the portrait of the suspect after he fled. “Suppression of this material fact from the court should lead to adverse inference,” the court observed.

The case of Scarlett Keeling is the only one that continues in court. In October 2009, CBI had filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case in the children’s court. In March 2010, the court framed charges against Samson D’Souza for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sexual abuse of the victim, while another accused, Placido Carvalho, faces prosecution for abetment of the offences.

While the prosecution has examined some witnesses, the state children’s court in October, 2012, allowed an application filed by CBI seeking the examination of a British witness, Michael Mannion alias Masala (popularly known as Mike Masala), through video-conferencing. The case is likely to come up for hearing next month.