PANJIM: Judicial Magistrate First Class Mrs. Sarika Faldessai will on July 22nd decide how to proceed with the 2004 Ribandar Church case.  Former Parish Priest of Ribandar Father Newton Rodrigues who is the complainant has failed to remain present in Court despite being summoned and a warrant of arrest issued against him.
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 Parish Pastoral committee meeting.
The Crime Branch has now asked the JMFC to issue a non-bailable warrant of arrest against Father Newton Rodrigues, the former Parish Priest of Ribandar and now Pastor of St. Bernadette Church at Calgary in Canada. A non- bailable warrant has been sought as the immigration authorities and the consulates overseas can only execute a non-bailable warrant. The police will also intimate all airports and check posts across the country that Father Newton Rodrigues be arrested. The Crime Branch will also seek the help of the Interpol to bring Father Newton Rodrigues to Goa.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues has also through an application before the JMFC sought that he be allowed to begin examining his witnesses and that Father Newton Rodrigues could be examined as and when the Police arrest and produce him in court. Adv. Aires Rodrigues will examine seven defence witnesses which include Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao and former Chief Minister of Goa Mr. Pratapsingh Rane.
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.
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 Rodrigues was closed after then Governor of Goa Mr. S.C Jamir reportedly intervened to save Fr. Newton Rodrigues from being charge sheeted.


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