HC adjourns hearing of complaint against Fiona

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Panaji, Sep 29 (UNI) Justice A P Lawande of the Bombay High Court today adjourned till October six, the hearing on a petition filed by a city-based voluntary organisation against Fiona Mackeown, a British national, for negligently leaving her teenaged daughter Scarlett Keeling in the custody of a stranger a day prior to the latter's rape and murder on February 18.

The NGO, Utt Goenkara, challenged the earlier order of the Children's Court, which had refused to direct the police to investigate the role of Ms Mackeown in the death of Ms Keeling.

Public Prosecutor C A Ferreira today told the court that the police had received the complaint from Utt Goenkara spokesman Adv Aires Rodrigues against Ms Mackeown and were examining it.

Earlier, on August 11, the president of the Children's Court had disallowed Utt Goenkara's complaint on the ground that as per Section 20 of the Children's Act, cognizance of any offence under the Act could be taken only on a complaint filed by the child, her parents, guardians, close relatives, police or a competent authority under the Children's Act.

Adv Rodrigues in his petition has submitted that Ms Mackeown was fully aware that her daughter Scarlett was a minor and that the law mandates that all children within Goa be provided a safe environment, wherein the parents are responsible to ensure that the child is not abused.

Adv Rodrigues further submitted that the conduct of Ms Mackeown, who had left her daughter in the custody of an adult stranger in Goa before she left for Gokaran in neighbouring Karnataka was in violation of section 8(1) (2) and section 8(12) of the Goa Children's Act 2003 and needs to be investigated in respect of her behavior and her activities in Goa.

Scarlett's bruised semi nude body was found floating at Anjuna beach on February 18, following which the state police chargesheeted two locals for allegedly drugging, raping and murdering the British teenager.

UNI SRN SSS AKJ DS1435

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