Bollywood actor Salman Khan today pleaded for a fresh trial before a sessions court in the hit-and-run case, saying the evidence adduced earlier before a magistrate be discarded as he was now facing a more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade argued that the actor had not been given an opportunity in the magistrate's court to cross-examine witnesses vis-a-vis the additional charge of culpable homicide which was imposed on him recently.
The prosecution, however, opposed Salman's plea saying "this was an attempt to delay the trial." The magistrate had adduced evidence on the basis of the deposition given by the witnesses. Hence, this evidence cannot be discarded, the public prosecutor argued.
Salman's lawyer pleaded that earlier it was a summary trial by the magistrate. However, as culpable homicide charge had been framed against the actor, the case was triable by a sessions court. "We should not be prejudiced because of want of cross examination of witnesses. Hence, a fresh trial may be conducted," he said.
Judge D W Deshpande reserved his order till December 5 on Salman's plea for a fresh trial.
A sessions court had on July 24 framed charges against Salman for culpable homicide for which he may face a jail term upto 10 years. Earlier, he was tried by a magistrate for rash and negligent driving which prescribes a two-year jail term.
Ten years after the accident in which Salman was found involved, the Bandra magistrate, mid-way during the trial, held that culpable homicide charge was made out against the actor and hence referred the case to a higher court for trial as this offence is triable only by the sessions court.
Apart from section 304(2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), the Bollywood superstar has also been charged under sections 279 (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by an act), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 427 (causing damage or mischief to property) of IPC, and provisions of Motor Vehicles Act and Bombay Prohibition Act.
One person was killed and four others were injured when the Land Cruiser, allegedly driven by Salman Khan, crushed a group of people sleeping on the pavement outside a bakery in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002.