Hearing in case against Scarlett’s mother postponed

December 5th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 5 (IANS) Hearing in the case against Fiona Mackeown, mother of slain British teenager Scarlett Keeling, has been postponed to December 17, after her lawyer questioned the logic behind against two state agencies separately probing charges, filed under identical sections of law, against her. Fiona’s counsel Vikram Verma asked the director of Women and Child Development department(WCD) to decide one single authority to probe the charges against his client.

“The court has to decide who Fiona should be investigated by. The police or the WCD,” Verma argued.

He said the Anjuna police have already initiated investigations against Fiona into charges of neglect filed against her by Utt Goenkara, a local NGO.

In its complaint, Utt Goenkara claimed that Fiona’s negligence was responsible for the death of her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett.

It said Fiona went off with her friends to Gokarna, in Karnataka, leaving her daughter in the company of an adult stranger in February, when she was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Fiona was charged with violating sections 8(1), 8(2) and 8(12) of the Goa Children’s Act, 2003, a legislation which specifically covers crimes against children.

“The Anjuna police have already told the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court that they have started the investigations against Fiona,” Verma told the director.

Last week the WCD director directed Fiona to appear for the hearing, warning her that if she did not, it would pass an order on its own.

It earlier sent two notices to Fiona, who is currently in Britain, seeking her presence for the hearing. Fiona ignored both notices.

Scarlett’s half naked body was found at Anjuna beach in February. The police earlier tried to dismiss the case as a suicide. But Fiona’s subsequent campaign for justice attracted international spotlight and exposed the ugly side of tourism in Goa.

Fiona has claimed that the drug mafia in Goa was involved in her daughter’s murder and even named Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik’s son Roy as a suspect, a charge the minister refuted.

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