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Prison term of defrocked Kerala Catholic priest for raping minor reduced

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Prison term of defrocked Kerala Catholic priest for raping minor reduced
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Prime accused in Kottiyoor rape case - Robin Vadakkumcherry

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday reduced the sentence of former Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumcherry, the accused in the sensational Kottiyoor rape case.

As per an IANS report, Justice Narayana Pisharadi reduced the sentence by altering the charges from Section 376 (2) to Section 376 (1), thereby sentencing the former priest to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

The Court also reduced the fine to Rs 1 lakh from 3 lakhs. However, the court ruled that POCSO and rape charges would remain.

The POCSO court at Thalassery had sentenced him to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment under Section 376 (2)(f) of IPC and provisions of the POCSO Act.

The infamous rape case had shaken the public conscience, where Vadakumchery was accused of raping and impregnating a minor girl in 2016.

According to prosecution, in the May of that year, Vadakumchery asked the girl to come into his room at the church house and raped her there. She eventually became pregnant and delivered a baby boy. When the news of birth broke, the girl initially accused her own father of rape, but later pointed in the direction of then priest Vadakumchery upon detailed questioning. A DNA test followed that confirmed Vadakumchery as the child's father.

Arrested in February 2017, Vadakkuncheril has been jailed since then and already served nearly five years of the jail term.

During the trial, the victim, her parents and many witnesses turned hostile. There were also attempts to fudge the victim's age so as to prove that she was a major when she gave birth to the child. At one point, the victim also told the court that she was in love with the priest and they had consensual sex.

However, the prosecution relied fully on the statement of the government doctor and established that the girl was a minor and that the sexual relation, even if it had the consent of the minor, should be construed as rape. The DNA test also nailed the prime accused.

The prosecution also succeeded in proving that the assault had been going on for more than four years.

The case had attracted further public rage after the survivor approached the Supreme Court expressing willingness to marry the accused. Robin Vadakkumcherry had also filed a petition seeking suspension of his sentence to marry the survivor. However, the Apex Court had rejected both the pleas.

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TAGS:Kottiyoor Rape Case Robin Vadakkumcherry Kerala High Court 
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