Court warns Bishop Franco of arrest after he skips hearing for 13th time

In a big setback to rape-accused Christian priest Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the Kerala High Court has refused to stay his plea in the on-going rape case against him, reports Goa chronicle.

According to a report by Goa Chronicle, Bishop Franco, who is accused of raping a 44-year-old nun, had approached the High Court in order to stay the rape case filed by the victim nun. However, the Kerala High Court did not admit petition and rejected his plea.

Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of raping a 44-year-old nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and subsequent sexual exploitations afterwards. The nun had registered a complaint in June 2018 and has also claimed that despite her complaints, the church took no action on the bishop.

Bishop Franco skips summons, trial court warns him of arrest

Earlier, the trial Court in Kochi had warned the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of arrest and cancellation of bail for failing to appear before the court for 13 times in connection with the hearing of the rape case against him, reported Goa Chronicle.

Reportedly, the lawyers for the clergyman has sought adjournments 13 times.

The Trial Court had even summoned the rape accused Bishop Franco on July 1, 2020, however, the accused Franco failed to appear again, this time angering the court.

The lawyers had claimed that the Archdiocese of Jalandhar was under containment zone restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic and added that Bishop Franco had failed to obtain permission to travel out of Jalandhar.

However, the court did not entertain the alibi presented by Bishop Franco’s side and warned them of cancelling the bail if Bishop Franco fails to appear before the court during the next hearing.

“I am sorry. But if Bishop Franco is not present at the next hearing, his bail will be cancelled and arrest orders will be issued,” the trial court said.

The accused Franco has been summoned yet again for a court hearing on July 13, 2020. The rape accused Bishop will be arrested if he fails to appear before the court on July 13.

Last month, the Kerala government had informed the High Court that there is ample evidence against the Bishop in the rape case.

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