Delivering its judgment over an appeal filed by a father of three children against a seven-year jail term for committing an offence when he was a 16-year-old child, the Court of Appeal observed that to be a good parent, he needs guidance, supervision, and rehabilitation rather than punishment and branding as a criminal.

Accordingly, the Court of Appeal’s two-judge bench, comprising Justices Sampath Abayakoon and P. Kumararatnam, commuted the seven-year-rigorous imprisonment of the accused-appellant to two-year imprisonment after taking into consideration the fact that he was only a 16-year-old child when he committed the offence.

The accused-appellant was indicted by the Attorney General for committing grave sexual abuse on a 12-year-old schoolboy between the dates of 01.04.2003 and 01.02.2004. However, the trial commenced on December 8, 2020.

The accused-appellant was a neighbour and always invited the victim to play. The High Court Judge, after considering the evidence presented by both parties, convicted the accused-appellant under Section 365B (2) (b) and sentenced him to 7 years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs. 15000.

The preliminary application of this appeal was that the accused-appellant was 16 years of age when he committed the offence, and now he is married and is the father of three children aged 16 and 2 (twins).

Counsel appearing on behalf of the accused-appellant informed the court that, as the accused-appellant and the victim were children when the incident took place, they urge the court’s indulgence to consider applying the principles laid down in Supreme Court determination No. 03 of 2008, decided on August 15, 2008.

“In this case, there is no doubt that the appellant committed a very serious offense punishable under the law. But one cannot forget the fact that he was also a child who was entitled to the protection of the law at the time he committed the crime. In the present circumstances, he is married and has three children. Considering the age of the accused and the victim, the incident pertaining to this case has happened between children,” Justice P. Kumararatnam observed.

It was revealed that when the accused faced the trial, he was 32 years old, married, and blessed with three children.




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