COURT TO DECIDE ON 23RD MAY WHETHER TO ISSUE WARRANT AGAINST FORMER RIBANDAR PRIEST FR NEWTON RODRIGUES

PANJIM: Panjim Judicial Magistrate First Class Shaikh Shabnam will on May 23rd decide on whether to issue a standing non-bailable warrant against former Ribandar Parish Priest Fr. Newton Rodrigues who is currently the Pastor of St. Bernadette Church at Calgary in Western Canada.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues today moved an application before the Court seeking that a non-bailable standing warrant be issued against Fr. Newton Rodrigues for having failed to remain present in Court despite summons having been served on him in Canada.
The JMFC today directed the Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) to file a reply to the application moved by Adv. Aires Rodrigues. The JMFC further directed the APP to keep the other three witnesses who have been summoned present in Court at the next hearing on May 23rd. At the request of Adv. Aires Rodrigues the High Court has already directed the JMFC to conduct the trial of the case as expeditiously as possible.
It was on Fr. Newton Rodrigues’s complaint that Adv. Aires Rodrigues and 14 other Ribandar residents were charge sheeted in connection with an incident that allegedly took place in 2004 at the Ribandar Churchpremises when Adv. Aires Rodrigues was leading an agitation demanding action against Fr. Newton Rodrigues for having allegedly molested a 13 year old girl from Ribandar.
While Adv. Rodrigues and others were charge sheeted for confronting Fr. Newton Rodrigues, the case filed against Fr.Newton Rodrigues by the mother of the 13 year old girl who was allegedly molested by Fr. Newton has been closed.
A First Information Report (F.I.R) was registered at the Old Goa Police Station on 18th August 2004 against Fr. Newton Rodrigues for having allegedly molested the minor girl. The F.I.R was registered against Fr. Newton Rodrigues under Sec 354 of Indian Penal Code and Section 8(2) of the Goa Children’s Act. The mother in her complaint to the police had stated that Fr. Newton Rodrigues had taken the minor girl to his bedroom on the pretext of confession and had molested her.
The then Senior Superintendent of Police (Crime) on 30th August 2004 opined that the Fr. Newton Rodrigues be charge sheeted. The Director of Prosecution had also opined that it was a fit case for charge sheeting Fr Newton Rodrigues.
However then Governor of Goa Mr. S.C Jamir reportedly intervened to save Fr. Newton Rodrigues from being charge sheeted. On 14th July 2005 the case file was sent to Governor S.C. Jamir and on 31st August 2005 the police submitted a report to the Children’s Court that the case against Fr. Newton Rodrigues be closed. Fr. Newton Rodrigues was later relieved from the Archdiocese of Goa and moved to Canada.

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