Parents unhappy with suspects' parade

Abhishek Roy and (right) Mohammad Mafisuddin

Alipore: The four-year-old student of GD Birla Centre for Education, who had allegedly been sexually assaulted by two teachers on the campus, failed to identify the accused during a test identification parade at Alipore Central jail on Monday, parents said.

The girl's mother, who was with the child during the parade, said her daughter could not identify the suspects because the live images shown to her were too grainy.

"The Internet connection snapped once.... And even after the link was restored, the picture quality was so bad and the screen so hazy that not a single face was clearly visible. How can we expect a child to identify anyone under these circumstances?" the mother said after stepping out of the jail in the afternoon.

The child's father said the family would seek legal opinion on whether a second test identification parade could be held, one in which the accused will be brought face-to-face with the child.

"We don't want the parade to be held through video conferencing. Instead, we want the suspects to be produced in front of our daughter," the father said.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, however, states that the "court shall ensure that the child is not exposed in any way to the accused at the time of recording of evidence...."

The police and the jail authorities did not comment on the parade because the outcome, recorded by a judicial magistrate, will be submitted to the trial court as an evidence.

The two accused - Abhishek Roy and Mohammad Mafisuddin, both teachers of physical training - are in judicial custody.

Sources said each of them was made to stand in a row of 10 others of similar height and build. The child was made to sit in another room with her mother and the judicial magistrate.

The images of all 22 people were displayed on a screen placed in a room where the girl was sitting. The child was shown the images and asked whether the two who had allegedly assaulted her on November 30 were among the suspects.

Legal experts said the result of a test identification parade - if it goes in favour of the prosecution - could act as a preliminary evidence during the trial.

"If the victim fails to identify an accused during the parade, it is a major setback for the case," said a lawyer. In such cases, the prosecution has to bank on secondary evidences such as witness accounts.


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