Friday, December 17, 2010

Dad convicted of mom's murder based on 5-year-old son's testimony (Delhi, India)

India is a very different place than the US, Canada, Australia and other so-called "developed" countries. We don't have dowries for one thing. But here are two thing that are remarkably consistent.

1) In all areas of the world, the media still persists in blaming horrific violent crimes on a "quarrel" or a "disagreement" and the like--but only in domestic violence cases. This is utterly stupid. If a stranger broke into your house and tied you up, and you uttered a few words of protest, and the stranger assaulted you, would the media blame the attack on a "quarrel" ? Of course not. This language is almost exclusively reserved to dismiss or minimize male violence against women.

2) It also seems that violent fathers all over the world have caught on to the "alienation" schtick. Your dying wife tells the authorities that you set her on fire. Your utterly traumatized 5-year-old son testifies to the same. But oh, the little boy must have been "tutored" to say such a thing! That's the standard argument these days. Never mind the evidence. For a child to report violence or abuse must mean (by definition to these guys) that he is being "coached" or "alienated" by some vindictive person. Ridiculous.

Man nailed for wife's murder on 5-year-old son's testimony
Press Trust of India, Updated: December 17, 2010 18:27 IST

Delhi: The testimony of a five-year-old child came in handy for proving the crime of his father who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Delhi court for burning alive the boy's mother a year ago.

The testimony of the boy, who was present in the room where his father had set his mother ablaze, was also corroborated by the dying declaration of the victim.

"The five-year-old child deposed in the court that accused Babu had burnt his mother by pouring kerosene oil and lighting match sticks and he (Babu) also used to beat his mother after taking 'daru' (liquor)," said Additional Sessions Judge Savita Rao referring to the child's deposition against his father.

The court turned down the plea of the father that the statement of his son cannot be relied upon as he is of tender age and might have been tutored by his in-laws to depose against him.

"It is clear from the deposition of the child that he is very truthful and rather had very fairly admitted what he had been told by his grandparents (maternal), yet he described whatever he had seen from his own eyes also," the court said and also imposed a fine of Rs. 5,000 on Babu.

In this case, Babu poured kerosene oil upon his wife and set her on fire after a quarrel on September 28, 2009. She was taken to hospital by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

On the same day, she made a statement before an executive Magistrate in the hospital naming her husband as responsible for the crime.

She had said that "all of them (her in-laws) are nice people but only her husband used to beat her up and had set her afire. Her husband had sold all the dowry articles which were given at the time of her marriage because of his drinking habit."

Four days after the attack, she succumbed to burn injuries.

Babu, however, had contended that he was not in his house at the time of the incident but the court refused to give credence to his arguments and convicted him.

"From the consistent deposition of witnesses, including dying declaration of the deceased, and totally unreliable stand taken in defence, I have no hesitation to conclude that prosecution has been able to prove its case beyond the reasonable doubt," the court said.

Read more at: