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Trial court acquits TN man over typo error of “Semen” to “Semman”, High Court set aside the acquittal after two years

Chennai, July 16(BPNS)

A Tamil Nadu man who was acquitted by a trial court in a POCSO  case was set aside by the Madras High court after the court found that the earlier acquittal was owing to a typo error of “Semen” to “Semman”, meaning red soil in Tamil. Justice Velmurugan of Madras High court set aside the trial court’s judgment and sentenced the person to life imprisonment on July 2, 2021, after hearing the appeal of the mother of the child.

The case occurred in 2017 when a woman left her daughter at her neighbour’s place while she was going out for purchasing groceries. The child was then of 2 years and 9 months.

When she came back, the neighbour brought the girl with him and on reaching home the girl showed her private parts and informed the mother that she was having pain. A white fluid was found on the child’s private parts as well her underwear.

After the pain continued for the second day, the mother took the child to the hospital and doctors confirmed that the child was sexually exploited. Police were informed and the neighbour was booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act. However, he was acquitted by the trial court stating that the prosecution had failed to prove the case.

In the high court during the trial, the woman’s advocate submitted that when the woman’s statement was taken the word “semen” in English was typed as “semman” in Tamil. The defense counsel took advantage of this typo error and argued in the court that the child’s mother(PW1) had said that the child’s undergarment had “semman” meaning “red soil”.

The High court while hearing the case said that the police had recorded that the woman had said” white colour fluid” on the private parts of the child. The court said that subsequently it was misinterpreted and said that the trial court was not observing its mind in the case. Justice P Velmurugan said that there was danger in writing an English word in Tamil, which has totally turned the case of the prosecution. The court observed that the Doctor who examined the child had clearly said that the child was sexually exploited.

The Madras High court in its ruling said, “ This court finds that the accused committed the offense under Section 9 of the POCSO Act which is punishable under Section 10 of the Act and the judgment of acquittal passed by the trial court is liable to be set aside.” The court also observed that the onus of rebutting a charge stands with the accused when it is a case of child abuse.