Visakhapatnam: Australian alleged paedophile Paul Henry Dean, who has been accused of committing sexual offences against orphans in Vizag and Odisha, may be acquitted of the charges filed against him.
Dean was first charged with sexually exploiting visually challenged, speech and hearing impaired orphans living at an orphanage run by the New Hope organisation in Vizag. The case is finally expected to wrap up in a couple of months after a 16-year wait.
Sources from the police department and the legal fraternity said that only eight of the 12 victims have appeared in the court during the course of the trial, and only one has admitted to having been sexually abused by the Australian missionary popularly known as Tata Garu.
Sources said that the case has been weakened by the remaining victims turning hostile.
So far, 33 witnesses have been examined in court with relation to this case; a passport officer from New Delhi and some police officials are yet to be examined.
Soon after his arrest in 2001, Dean had confidently told reporters no Indian court could send him to jail. After 16 years of his case being passed on from one court to another, his prophecy may finally come true.
The case is currently under trial at the Railway Court in Vizag city. It is jeopardised by the fact that the victims seem uninterested in seeing the accused punished. It is only the international donors who gave Dean large amounts of money to run leprosy homes and orphanages that are pushing for a sentence. Some documents pertaining to the case are also believed to be missing.
Sources say that Dean has been freely travelling across India without a passport or a visa for the past 40 years. While he may escape conviction for the sexual charges against him, he may be convicted under the Foreigners Act. They add that the investigating officers and witnesses will be examined soon.
Local lawyers say that Dean was arrested from his flat on Beach Road in Vizag city in 2011 for the commission of sexual offences. After his release on bail, he moved to Odisha and committed the same offences in the Muniguda area. Anil Kumar, one of his victims, ended up committing suicide....