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Scarlett's mother fails to appear before Goan authorities

September 12, 2008 13:23 IST

British national Fiona Mackeown, who was summoned by Goa's Women and Child Welfare Department, failed to appear before the authorities on Friday, citing that the notice issued was inadequate to make alternative arrangements for the safety and care of her children.

"My client is a single mother of seven minor children and her presence in England with her children is essential for their care and safety," Fiona's legal counsel Vikram Varma said while moving an application before the authority today morning.

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Fiona's teenage daughter Scarlett Eden Keeling was found dead on Goa's beach on February 18 following which two locals were arrested for drugging, raping and leaving her to die on the beach.

Utt Goenkara, a local NGO, had filed an application before the Women and Child Welfare Department to prosecute Fiona under Goa Children's Act, as she had allegedly neglected Scarlett by leaving her with another male on the day of her death.

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Varma has said, "The averments made by the complainant against my client are false and untenable."

"My client is the natural mother of the deceased Scarlett Eden Keeling. She has exhibited her concerns and responsibilities as a parent for Scarlett from her birth during her life and even after her death, far in excess of the complainant," the application mentions.

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Varma said that the complaint is clearly intended towards legal harassment of a grieving woman who has lost her child.

"The child, Scarlett Keeling Eden, has been a victim of homicide and it would be in the interest of the perpetrators of the crime to use both threat and legal muscle in browbeating my client from not returning to India and assist in the investigations or prosecution," he alleged.

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 The NGO has knocked on the doors of the Children's Court of Goa in this matter. "The court, after a judicial scrutiny of the documents and a hearing to the petitioner, has dismissed the petition," he pointed out.

The case is in appeal with the High Court and the matter is being examined for its tenability, Varma said.

While the matter is being examined in the High Court, it would be ultra vires for this department to conclude and issue a show cause notice on the matter without leave or orders from the Court, he added.

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