Kerala HC reduces ex-priest’s prison term to 10 years in ‘rape’ case

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The Kerala High Court on Wednesday reduced the trial court’s punishment of 20 years to 10 years of 53-year-old former Kerala Catholic priest Robin Vadakkumchery in the Kottiyoor ‘rape’ case.

On Wednesday, 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 coupled with a fine while disposing of an appeal filed by the accused.

Vadakkumchery was serving as a parish vicar near Kannur and was the manager of the Church-backed-school where the victim, a Class 11 student, was studying.

It was a Childline agency that works among the school children that had registered the complaint against the priest.

The priest came under pressure after the girl gave birth to a child on February 7, 2017 at a hospital run by the management.

The priest was arrested on February 27, 2017 from near Kochi International airport while he was preparing to slip out of the country.

The priest was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on February 17, 2019 by a court in Thalassery after he was tried under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

During the trial, the victim and her mother turned hostile. Despite that the court proceeded on the basis of evidence collected already and handed out the verdict.

This new development from the High Court came after the now dismissed priest filed a petition and got a favourable order.

In July this year the rape survivor approached the Supreme Court seeking permission to marry her ‘tormentor’, likewise Vadakkumchery also filed a petition seeking suspension of his sentence to marry the victim, but the Supreme Court dismissed both the pleas.

Incidentally, the Vatican after going through all the process dismissed Vadakkumchery from priesthood.

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