Current Affairs

Ribandar Case: Witnesses Commit Perjury?

The trial in the Ribandar church case underway before the Judicial Magistrate First Class at Panjim on Tuesday threw up a piquant situation as the witness deposed that the previous witnesses had committed perjury.

On Tuesday H L Hanshakutti the Police Sub Inspector who investigated the case initially, deposed in the court that the statements of five witnesses including Cynthia Fernandes, were typed on 17th August 2004 at around 10:30 am on the complainant Fr. Newton Rodrigues’ computer at the Ribandar church.

It may be recalled that last week another witness Cynthia Fernandes had deposed that her complaint was hand written and recorded at the Old Goa Police Station at around 7:30 pm.

Hanshakutti deposition also puts Mica Fernandes who was then the vice-moderator of the Ribandar Parish Pastoral Council and is currently in government service, in the dock.

While Mica in her deposition had claimed that her statement was recorded at around 7:30 pm, Hanshakutti revealed that it was recorded at around 11 am.

Even though Hanshakutti was cross examined for nearly two hours on Tuesday, it was not over and the cross examination will now continue on 23rd June.

It may be recalled that following a complaint lodged by Fr. Newton Rodrigues, the then parish priest of Ribandar church, the State has charge sheeted 15 residents of Ribandar including Adv Aires Rodrigues for trespassing into the church property.

The complaint came in the wake of an agitation launched by Adv. Aires Rodrigues protesting against Fr. Newton Rodrigues who was alleged to have molested a minor girl.

Since then, Fr. Newton Rodrigues has been relieved of his duties by the Goa Archdiocese and is presently functioning as the Pastor of St. Bernadette’s Church at Calgary, Canada.

The JMFC has also issued a warrant of arrest against Fr. Newton Rodrigues for his consistent failure to be present in the court despite being served the summons.

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