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Jul 24, 2008 at 02:04am IST

Brits charged with sexual abuse acquited

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has acquitted two British citizens who were convicted of sexually abusing children by a sessions court. The two were sent to six years in rigorous imprisonment in 2006.

The court acquitted Duncan Grant and Allan Waters — who were in jail for three years on charges of paedophilia — due to lack of evidence. The court also acquitted their Indian associate William D'souza.

The three were charged of sexually exploiting five minor boys.

"We argued the matter on merits all over again, The High Court reassessed the entire evidence and came to the conclusion that the version of those two boys was not cogent and convincing to sustain a conviction," says the defence lawyer Taraq Sayyed.

The case came to light in 2001 when five minor boys filed a police complaint against Grant, Waters and D'Souza accusing them of sexual abuse.

The boys were inmates of Anchorage, a shelter for street children set up by Grant in 1995. They alleged while Duncan would sexually exploit them, Waters would regularly accompany Grant.

The boys also alleged that D'souza would beat the boys and physically assault them.

While Waters was extradited from New York in September 2004, Grant surrendered before the Indian police in June 2005.

However, following the acquittal by Bombay High Court, the prosecution has expressed shock.

"The boys have stood in court and spoken about the sexual abuse that was perpetrated upon them, the court has recorded this evidence," says public prosecutor Marukh Adenwala.

The witnesses were even cross examined and the boys stood to their story even during cross examination. So I'm shocked as this is a case of child abuse," adds Marukh.

Meanwhile as the British nationals prepare to walk out free from the jail in a few days, the prosecution is preparing to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal.