Gems school bus staff acquitted of abuse charge

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The Dubai Court of First Instance has acquitted the three suspects accused of raping a four-year-old student of Gems-run Modern High School, Nad Al Sheba, on the school bus.

According to the Dubai Police, the Indian child was allegedly raped by the three suspects on November 11, and later dropped off at her home in Karama. The parents, however, alerted the police on January 9 this year.

The acquittal by the Dubai Court of First Instance was based on the medical reports presented before the court, lack of translator and contradictory confessions made by the accused during investigations.

The verdict signed by Presiding Judge Fahmi Munir Fahmi, and members Judge Jasim Mohammed Ibrahim and Maher Salama Al Mahdi, said that the Court based its ruling on the lack of evidence proving the involvement of the accused in the case. “Forensics denied finding blood or sperm traces on the cloths of the girl or in the bus.”

The Court did not take into consideration the confessions made by three Indian accused JTB, 43, messenger, MBS 44, bus driver and VSR, 37, bus assistant before the police. It considered the confessions were invalid because there was no translator who could communicate with the accused in their mother tongue.

“The investigations which took place in the police station violate Article No. 70 of the Procedure Law which condition providing a translator who is fluent in both the accused and the investigator’s languages.”

As well, the court did not take into consideration the accused’s confessions because they were contradictory to the forensic and medical reports. One of the accused confessed that he groped the girl’s private part and she bled. However, the forensics and medical reports denied any blood traces on the girl’s cloths or the bus. The second accused confessed to inserting his finger in the girl’s private part. The medical report denied finding any recent or old scratch or wound in the girl’s hymen. The reports proved that the redness in the girl’s private part was attributed to poor cleanness, according to the ruling.

The ruling also said that one of the medical reports stressed that blood traces, if there were any, do not fade within months but last long time and had there been any, the tests would have proven that. The report refuted any possibility of not finding traces due to about three months period between the date of the incident and that of conducting laboratory test.

The Court does not rest to the testimony of the girl’s mother which contradicted with the laboratory and forensic reports.

The Court took into consideration that the school’s records proved that the third accused was not even on the bus on the day of the reported incident. As well, eye witnesses of the school’s staff have assured what came in the school’s records whereas the Dubai Prosecution accusation sheet said that the third accompanied the two accused in the bus and took part in the crime.

Based on that the Court acquitted the three from the accusations and the verdict can be appealed within 15 days.

Reacting to the verdict, a spokesperson for Gems Education said in a media statement sent to Emirates247.com: “Gems Education notes that the Dubai Court has reached a conclusion that no rape or molestation of one of its students by the accused in the case has occurred, thereby conclusively refuting assertions which appeared in certain sections of the media that Gems Education or Dubai Modern High School has failed to protect its students.”

“These men are family men, fathers with young children, loving husbands who we understand have endured not only immense emotional but also physical suffering,” Gems said in the statement. “Their character and integrity have been subjected to attack by many sections of the community. We would caution against people conducting trials by media, and remember that all accused are innocent until proven guilty. It is important to let justice take its rightful course,” the Gems statement cautioned.

The alleged incident took place when the child was taking the school bus home. Transportation has been outsourced by Gems to School Transport Service (STS), a company partly owned by Gems management. Both the conductors were school employees while the driver worked with the transport provider.

“From the outset there were question-marks surrounding the allegation against the accused, including the fact that one of the accused was not present on the bus on the day of the alleged incident, and the GPS records showing that there was no opportunity for a crime to have been committed during the time and in the location as was alleged,” the Gems spokesperson said in the statement.

“However, as we stated on several occasions, we preferred to leave it to the Dubai Courts to seek the truth, whatever that truth may be. In the interest of the safety and wellbeing of our students in general, we are thus relieved that the Court has now confirmed that no crime has been committed. As Gems has emphasized throughout, our students’ safety is our main priority,” the statement added.

According to STS, the transportation provider, they have already taken extra safety measures than mandated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). According to an earlier statement by an STS spokesperson, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) was installed in all buses last year and also electronic student attendance system was introduced to track students’ entry and exit from buses.

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