Man accused of killing Indian native Ranjodh Singh acquitted by Oz court
Sydney, August 03, 2012
First Published: 13:02 IST(3/8/2012)
Last Updated: 15:24 IST(3/8/2012)
Harpreet Singh, the main accused behind the killing fellow Indian Ranjodh Singh, whose body was found in December 2009 after being brutally killed, has been acquitted by the Albury Supreme Court in the case.
Ranjodh Singh whose body was found in December, 2009. SMH Photo
Ranjodh was viciously stabbed 20 times, with throat slashed twice,
and his body was set alight. His charred remains were found in a ditch alongside an orchard-lined road on the outskirts of Griffith, in regional New South Wales.
Main accused Harpreet has stood trial in the Albury Supreme Court for the past one month, but a jury at the court unanimously announced the verdict of him not being guilty.
The Crown case against the 26-year-old Harpreet had relied entirely upon the evidence of two witnesses who were present when Harpreet and Ranjodh disappeared into the orchards.
The witnesses, Gurpreet Singh and Harpreet Kaur Bhullar, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to being an accessory after the fact to murder, but now it has emerged that murder did not take place.
Gurpreet and Bhullar had earlier tried to catch a flight out of the country in Sydney but were stopped.
Each have since pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder, but defence barrister Michael King attacked their credibility, describing them as liars with powerful incentives to avoid telling the truth.
King said the pair needed to ward off attention from them, and forensic examinations had failed to link Harpreet Singh to the crime.
"It is our case that they will tell you a pack of lies," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted King, as telling to the jury during his opening remarks.
Justice Ian Harrison told the jury to find the offence proven the jury had to consider whether there was a powerful incentive for Bhullar and Gurpreet Singh to lie, because the prosecution case relied solely on them.