PANJIM: Judicial Magistrate First Class Mrs. Sarika Faldessai today directed that the Prosecution evidence in the 2004 Ribandar Church case be closed.  The JMFC in her order today stated that she would now proceed with recording the statement of the accused under section 313 of the Criminal procedure code on July 26th.
Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code empowers the court to examine the accused for the purpose of enabling the accused personally to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against them and about the case.
After this Adv. Aires Rodrigues will commence examining his seven defence witnesses which include Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao and former Chief Minister of Goa Mr. Pratapsingh Rane.
The JMFC in her order today further stated that Father Newton Rodrigues was fully aware of the proceedings of the case and has failed to remain present in Court despite being served summons and even a warrant of arrest issued against him.
Crime Branch Police Inspector Mrs. Sunita Sawant as directed by the JMFC today remained present in Court and sought that a non-bailable warrant of arrest be issued against Father Newton Rodrigues, the former Parish Priest of Ribandar and now Pastor of St. Bernadette Church at Calgary in Canada. Inspector Sawant told the Court that a non- bailable warrant was required as the immigration authorities and the consulates overseas through the Interpol can only execute a non-bailable warrant.
It was on Fr. Newton Rodrigues’s complaint that Adv. Aires Rodrigues and 14 other Ribandar residents were charge sheeted for trespassing into the church corridor and disturbing a meeting of the Parish Pastoral committee.
The government has over the last seven years been aggressively pursuing this case against Adv. Aires Rodrigues with the State having even challenged before the Sessions Court and later in the High Court the earlier acquittal of Adv. Aires Rodrigues in this same case by even appointing a Special Public Prosecutor in the High Court to handle the case against Adv. Rodrigues.
In 2004 Adv. Aires Rodrigues was leading an agitation demanding action against Father . Newton Rodrigues for having allegedly molested a 13 year old girl from Ribandar. While Adv. Aires Rodrigues and others were charge sheeted for confronting Father Newton Rodrigues, the case filed against Father Newton Rodrigues by the mother of the 13 year old girl who was allegedly molested by Fr. Newton Rodrigues was closed after then Governor of Goa Mr. S.C Jamir reportedly intervened to save Father Newton Rodrigues from being charge sheeted.


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