x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Not-guilty pleas in rape of 4-year-old

Three school bus workers deny assaulting the girl on her way home from school last year.

DUBAI // The three men accused of sexually assaulting a four-year-old on her school bus last year denied the charges yesterday morning before the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

The Indian nationals, JT, 43; MP, 44 and FS, 37, the school bus driver and two assistants, sexually assaulted her on November 11, 2010, after dropping all other students off at their destinations, records said.

A forensic expert, SZ, said in her report that no signs of a sexual assault were found during an examination. But she added that most signs disappear within about two hours.

Prosecutor Ahmed al Attar told the court that the men should receive the maximum punishment due to the severity of their actions.

The defence lawyer, Samir Jaafar, who was present along with lawyer Hussain al Jazeeri, told the court that although reading the file disgusted him, the men’s innocence stands out.

“We will show the evidence in the defence argument in the next hearing, your honour,” Mr Jafaar said.

Mr al Jazeeri asked the court to grant his clients bail.

On the day of the incident, the men called the victim’s mother and told her not to worry if the bus came late because of traffic jams, records said.

The girl, a student of Modern High School in Nad Al Sheba, was taken to an empty parking lot where the defendant MP, an assistant, approached her and sat her on his lap, prosecutors said. According to records MP spoke to her and comforted her, then began molesting her.

Prosecutors said the child started crying, but JT and FS then assaulted her.

The incident was reported later after the victim’s mother told her father, SK, she had found blood spots on the girl's skirt.

SK also said his daughter was in shock and feared being near him, which prompted them to take her to two doctors, who confirmed the girl had been molested. He said she described to her mother what the men had done to her.

The men were arrested shortly after.

The next hearing was scheduled for March 23.

salamir@thenational.ae