Donít turn down a child witnessí statements: HC
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Holding that the evidence of a child witness cannot be rejected outright, the Delhi High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a man for kidnapping and raping a minor girl three years ago.
The judgment, delivered by a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and S P Garg, dismissed the appeal of Amrit Sharma, a Shalimar Bagh resident, against his conviction by the trial court on September 27, 2010 on basis of the testimonies of the girl and her friend.
"The law on the issue is that the evidence of a child witness cannot be rejected out-rightly. It must be evaluated more carefully and with greater circumspection because a child is susceptible to be swayed by others and can be tutored," the court said.
"Small children can make false identification not because they want to depose and state false facts but because they may not be fully aware and conscious of the adverse consequence and the effect of making false positive identification," the court said.
The bench accepted the statements of victim, a 4-year-old girl at the time of incident in April 2009, and her friend who is of the same age. They said Sharma had offered them biscuits and Rs 10 to accompany him. The friend said that she declined the offer but had seen Sharma take her friend to a forest area nearby.
"In the absence of any contrary evidence, we cannot assume that testimonies of the girl and her friend should not be considered simply because they were child witnesses. There is nothing on record to show that both of them were not capable to reveal the incident and identify the accused," the bench said.
"...it was the perception of the child witnesses as to how they connected the culprit as he was not known to them by name. There was no hesitation from both of them to recognise and identify him in court. Sharma was arrested on the identification of the prosecutrix," the court said and rejected Sharma's argument that he was framed in the case as the girl's mother wanted to extort money from him.
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