The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, convicted a beach shack worker in relation to the death of British teenager Scarlett Keeling. The verdict has come more than 10 years after Scarlett was found dead on 18 February 2008 at Anjuna beach in Goa.
The court convicted Samson D’Souza, one of the two accused, under IPC sections 328 (for administering drugs), 354 (outraging woman’s modesty), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting murder), and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and for child abuse under section 8(2) of the Goa Children’s Act. However, the court acquitted Placido Carvalho – the other accused in the case.
The court overturned the 2016 verdict of Goa Children’s Court, in which D’Souza was cleared of charges of culpable homicide and grievous sexual assault. Following which, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2017 had challenged the ruling.
Talking to The Logical Indian, lawyer Vikram Varma, who represented Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown, said, “I think to some extent the justice has been done. One person has been convicted while the other has been acquitted due to loss of evidence, and the loss of evidence happened due to late registration of FIR by the Goa police.”
After Scarlett’s dead body was found on the morning of 18 February 2008, “We approached the police on 22nd and 23rd asking for registering an FIR, but the police insisted that it was a drowning case and did not register the case until 8th of March, 2008, said Vikram.
“The case was registered 20 days after the incident happened, which I believe is enough time for the destruction of evidence,” he added.
However, a massive outrage followed after coverage by the national and international media and protest by Scarlett’s mother. Then, the case was transferred to the CBI on March 12, 2008. And the accused D’Souza and Mr Carvalho were arrested in March 2008.
Later the autopsy report revealed that there were 50 injuries and cuts on the victim’s body as well as there were ecstasy, cocaine and LSD in her body.