PANJIM: A PWD employee Mrs. Cynthia Fernandes who was a member of the church committee headed by then Ribandar Parish Priest Fr. Newton Rodrigues today told the Court that she did not see Adv. Aires Rodrigues and others who had come with him disturb or obstruct the Parish Pastoral Committee meeting on 16th August 2004.
On being cross examined by Adv. Aires Rodrigues for over an hour today Mrs. Feranndes today further conceded that she did not see Aires Rodrigues and his group have any discussion or arguments with Father Newton Rodrigues
Mrs. Fernandes told the court that there are around 3500 parishioners in Ribndar Church but only 100 had come to the Church when the church bells were rung by the Parish Priest. She further told the court that she does not remember which officer recorded her statement at the Old Goa Police Station and later at the Crime Branch.
The trial of Adv. Aires Rodrigues and 14 other Ribandar residents in the 2004 Ribandar Church case will now continue on June 21st at 10 am before Panaji Judicial Magistrate First Class Mrs. Sarika Faldessai when the court will continue with the examination of Old Goa Police Sub Inspector H.L.Hanshakutti who had initially investigated the case. The last prosecution witness Crime Branch Inspector Braz Menezes who was also one of the Investigating officers of the case will depose in Court on June 23rd.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues will then examine his witnesses which include Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao, Mrs. Conceicao Frois the mother of the minor girl who was allegedly molested by Fr. Newton Rodrigues, Mr. Michael Fernandes, husband of Ribandar CCP Corporator Vivina Nasnodkar who was a panch witness but not examined by the prosecution and Superintendent of Police Mr. Bosco George a parishioner of Ribandar Church and who was ADC to then Goa Governor S.C. Jamir when the case filed by the mother of the minor girl against Fr. Newton Rodrigues.
It was on Fr. Newton Rodrigues’s complaint that Adv. Aires Rodrigues and 14 other Ribandar residents were charge sheeted for entering the church and disturbing a church committee meeting.
In 2004 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. Aires 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 was closed.
Though then Senior Superintendent of Police (Crime) and the Director of Prosecution had opined that it was a fit case for charge sheeting Fr Newton Rodrigues, 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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