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When A Typo Almost Acquitted Man Accused Of Sexually Assaulting A Minor

A typing error almost came to the rescue of a man accused of sexual assault on a two-year-old girl.

During the proceedings of a case filed in 2017, it so happened that the typist wrote ‘semen’ as ‘semman’, which means red soil in Tamil.

The accused man, who was booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, was acquitted by a POCSO court as the prosecution failed to prove his act beyond a reasonable doubt.

But the Madras High Court overturned the lower court’s judgment while hearing an appeal by the girl’s mother and sentenced him to life imprisonment, Bar and Bench reported.

The woman’s plea in 2017 stated that her daughter, who was two years and nine months old then, was raped by her neighbour.

After the man was let off by POCSO court, the mother appealed to Madras High Court.

The bench of Justice P Velmurgan noted that the defence counsel had taken advantage of a typo made during the trial at POCSO court.

The order stated that during hearing of the case, while recording the mother’s statement, the word ‘semen’ in English was erroneously typed out as ‘semman’ in Tamil.

“Taking advantage of that mistake, the defence stated that P.W.1 (the mother) has said in her evidence that she found ‘semman colour’ which means red soil colour,” the high court said.

However, the complaint noted by police clearly shows that the woman had said ‘semen’, and that she saw a ‘white coloured fluid’ on the private parts of the child, the court added, and also noted that subsequently, the word ‘semen’ in English was misinterpreted as ‘semman’ in Tamil.

“Hence, it is dangerous to write an English word in Tamil, which has totally turned the case of the prosecution, and admittedly, the defence side has taken flimsy defence that P.W.1 has stated as ‘semman colour’,” Justice Velmurugan said.

He also noted that as per the evidence, the doctor who medically examined her had said the two-year-old was sexually assaulted.