The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Friday sentenced Samson D’Souza to ten-year rigorous imprisonment in the British teenager Scarlett Eden Keeling death case.
Delivering its ‘operative order’ on the death case that had attracted the attention of the international media, the High Court said, “Samson is convicted of an offence punishable under Section 328 of the Indian Penal Code (administrating stupefying drug with an intent to cause hurt), and he is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and pay a fine of Rs 50,000; and in default of payment of fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for one year.”
The HC said that “Samson is convicted of an offence punishable under Section 354 of the IPC (assault or use of criminal force on a woman with an intent to outrage her modesty); and he is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years and shall pay a fine of Rs 50,000 and in default of payment of fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for six months.”
The 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling was found dead at Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008. Two locals – Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho – were accused of leaving her to die after drugging and sexually abusing her.
The Goa Children’s Court had in 2016 acquitted both the accused.
The impugned judgment and order of acquittal dated September 23, 2016 passed by the president, children’s court, Panaji in the case was quashed and set aside by the High Court in respect of Samson.
After the local police faced criticism for failure to properly investigate the case, the government had handed the case over to the CBI. The case had drawn the attention of international media due to the outburst of Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown against the government and safety of tourists in Goa.
The High Court’s division bench consisting of Justice Prithviraj Chavan and Justice R D Dhanuka also convicted Samson of an offence punishable under Section 304(ii) of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting murder) and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years. The HC ordered him that he shall pay a fine of Rs 50,000 and in default of payment of the fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for one year.
The High Court in its operative order observed that “Samson is convicted of an offence punishable under Section 201 of Indian Penal Code (causing disappearance of evidence) and he is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and shall pay a fine of Rs 10,000 and in default of payment of fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for four months.”
The HC also convicted him of an offence punishable under Section 8(2) of the Goa Children’s Act, 2003 and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years.
Samson shall pay a fine of Rs 1,00,000 and in default of payment of fine, he shall undergo simple imprisonment for six months, the court said.
The HC said, “The whole of the amount of fine be paid to the mother of the victim under Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as a compensation, if realised, subject to the decision of appeal, if preferred. The period of detention already undergone, shall be set off under Section 428 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The substantive sentences shall run concurrently.”
The counsel for Samson had moved an application for suspension of sentence and Samson’s release for a period of 12 weeks to enable him to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
S G Bhobe, counsel for Samson, submitted that this court can invoke its jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC.
Special public prosecutor Ejaz Khan strongly objected the prayer of Samson by contending that there is no question of invoking Section 482 of CrPC as there is neither abuse of process of the court nor there is any question of securing ends of justice.
The High Court observed that “without going into the issue whether this court can exercise power under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, we are not inclined to exercise our jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC in view of gravity of the offence and the findings rendered by us in the judgment. Prayer is therefore rejected and criminal miscellaneous application stands disposed of accordingly.”