Delhi gang-rape trial to take three more months: Lawyers (Two months after Dec 16 gang-rape)

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Trial of the five men charged with gang-raping a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus here Dec 16 will take another three months to conclude, say advocates.

Dayan Krishnan, the special public prosecutor in the case, told IANS that "in another three months, the trial will be complete".

The court was to hear the case daily, but after the judge's father died, the trial has been in hold since Feb 13. It will resume Feb 18 (Monday), Krishnan said. The trial, continuing since Feb 5 in a fast track court in Saket in south Delhi, is not being reported as Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna has restrained the media from reporting the daily hearings.

V.K. Anand, the lawyer who represents main accused Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh in the court, also said the trial would continue for another three to four months.

"There are so many witnesses that it will certainly take another three to four months to complete the proceedings. Now the court is recording the statements of witnesses, then cross-examinations will begin, followed by final arguments. The procedure probably will be complete in May-end," Anand told IANS.

A.P. Singh, who represents three other accused, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, also said the judgment would come in two-three months' time.

"There are 80 witnesses in the case. The trial will take another two to three months," Singh told IANS.

The young woman, a physiotherapist trainee, was tortured and gang-raped by five men and a juvenile in a moving bus Dec 16. She and her male friend were then thrown off on the road -- bloodied and without clothes.

The woman died in a Singapore hospital 13 days later. Her brutal attack sparked spontaneous protests in the country, forcing the government to take several steps, including setting up the fast track court Dec 19 to try the five accused. The sixth, a minor, will be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board.

The police framed charges against the five Feb 2.

Delhi Police have made 80 witnesses in the case including the woman's friend, doctors of Safdarjang Hospital here and Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore and the magistrate who recorded the victim's statement.

The deposition of 80 witnesses was a time-consuming process, A.P. Singh said.

"Till now, 10 witnesses have recorded their statements before the court. Seventy more witnessses have to depose and it will take time. Out of the 10 witnesses (who have recorded their statements), eight have been cross-examined and two are still left," counsel told IANS.

He said police have also booked the five accused under 13 counts under the Indian Penal Code, including murder, rape, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy. The accused have pleaded not guilty and sought trial.

"All the five are not guilty of rape, murder and other offences, but police have painted all with the same brush," counsel said.

He also said he was "doubtful of a fair trial".

"We want an impartial trial. But there is political and public pressure on the court. In such a scenario, how can we expect a fair trial?" he told IANS.

Like A.P. Singh, Anand too said the case against his client was "very weak" and "if given fair trial, all the accused will be acquitted".

Attorneys refused to give more details about the case since the judge had on Jan 7 ordered in-camera trial and restrained the media from reporting any news related to it without its permission.

Journalists are also not allowed to attend the daily proceedings of the case and even defence counsel have been told not to brief or discuss the case with reporters. They have been warned that contempt of court proceedings will be initiated against them if they do so.

While the trial in this gang-rape case may take time, a trial court in Punjab in January, hearing a rape case, gave a quick ruling. It convicted and sentenced a rapist to 10 years in jail in just nine days after the charge-sheet was filed.

Also, in Bihar's Rohtas district, a sessions court in 2006 pronounced its judgment in a rape case in two days, setting the record for the fastest judicial proceeding ever conducted in India.

But both the defence lawyers in the Delhi gang-rape case, however, said in the previous two cases, the accused had pleaded guilty.

In such a situation, the court does not require witnesses.

"Whereas in our case, all the accused have pleaded not guilty. So the trial will take its time," A.P. Singh said.

(Garima Tyagi can be contacted at garima.t@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Punjab elect to bowl. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »