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Fiona's last chance to appear

india Updated: Oct 11, 2008 16:38 IST

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Goa government's Directorate of Women and Child Development will launch proceedings against British national Fiona Mackeown if she fails to appear before them on October 15.

Fiona has been accused of neglecting her minor daughter during her trip to Goa in February this year.

"This is the last opportunity given to her failing which the matter shall be proceeded ex-parte against her and will be decided as per law," the notice signed by Director, Sanjiv M Gadkar, reads.

The notice has been served at the Porvorim residence of Fiona's lawyer while she is away in Daon, UK.

Local Non-Government Organisation (NGO), Utt Goenkara, in its petition with the Directorate had charged Fiona of violating the Goa Children's Act. Fiona had reportedly left her daughter, Scarlett Eden Keeling, in unlawful hands while she was out of Goa.

Scarlett's body was later found on Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008.

The Directorate had twice issued notices to Fiona for remaining present during the hearing. "The matter was adjourned on two occasions-- September 18 and October 8, giving her an opportunity to remain present," Gadkar said.

The state Directorate has given her a last chance to appear before them on October 15 at 1030 hrs in Panaji.

The state police on Friday told the High Court that they are probing into the complaint filed by the NGO, which alleged that Fiona had neglected her child during her Goa visit.

The submission was made following the NGO's petition to the judiciary seeking police probe against the British mother.

It is unfair on the judicial authority's part to caution that the matter would be decided against her, Fiona's legal counsel, Vikram Varma said.

"He should give a hearing to Fiona, who will be represented by the lawyer," Varma said.

In his reply to the directorate, Varma, whose address was used to serve the notice, asked the State Government to serve a notice to Fiona either at her residence in UK or through the British High Commissioner.

"Fiona is a British national and does not live at my place," the reply to the directorate mentions.