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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

Dec 16 rape: verdict on juvenile accused deferred

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 11, 2013
First Published: 09:25 IST(11/7/2013) | Last Updated: 20:45 IST(11/7/2013)

A Juvenile Justice Board that conducted the trial of a 17-year-old accused in the December 16 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in New Delhi has deferred announcing its verdict until July 25, a prosecutor said.

"The court has completed the hearing. The order has been deferred to 25th of July," public prosecutor Madhav Khurana said as he emerged from court.

The parents of the victim were present inside the small juveniles' court on Thursday.

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"We hope we get justice on July 25th," said the mother, who has previously called for all suspects to be hanged, before entering the court. Reporters were not allowed inside the courtroom.

The court had concluded the inquiry, which began in March against the juvenile, described the prosecution as the "most brutal of the six accused" on July 5. The maximum punishment he can be given under the Juvenile Justice Act if found guilty is a three-year sentence at a reformatory home.

It also led to the passing of an anti-rape law, called the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill-2013, which provides for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts, besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.


Charges against juvenile accused

Among the charges the juvenile is facing are gang rape, murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence and conspiracy.

During the inquiry, the board recorded the statements of six prosecution witnesses including the victim's male friend and also the carpenter, who was robbed in the bus on the fateful night.

Read More: Justice for braveheart: the story unfolds

The juvenile's lawyer told the court that there was no medical evidence against him to connect him with the charges and no fingerprints could be detected in the bus to show his complicity. The juvenile in his statement recorded by the board during the inquiry claimed innocence and refuted the police version in the charge sheet of him being the "most brutal" of all the accused.

He had claimed he was himself victimised by his employer and prime accused Ram Singh, who, he said, did not pay him for his work.

A schoolgirl holds a placard with an image of a hanging man during a rally in Ahmedabad, after the death of the gangrape victim in New Delhi. (AFP file photo)

Timeline of Delhi gangrape case:
Dec 16, 2012: A 23-year-old physiotherapy student is raped; male friend gets brutally beaten. The incident takes place at 9:40pm in a moving bus which the victims board from Saket to Dwarka; around 11:00 pm, the victims are admitted to Safdarjung hospital by the Police.

Dec 17: Bus Driver Ram Singh and two other accused get identified and arrested.

Dec 18: The incident leads to huge demonstrations; crowds clash with Police at Jantar Mantar and India Gate; fourth accused arrested.

Dec 19: Transport department cancels the license of the bus (a White Line); doctors treating the girl comment about her unstable condition, and that she is communicating through chits. Her friend, the male companion gives his testimony in court. Accused Vinay tell court to 'hang him'.

Dec 20: Students of Central universities- Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi University, and Jamia Millia Islamia University- protest outside the residence of Delhi’s chief minister Shiela Dixit.

Dec 21: Fifth accused, a juvenile, is arrested. One of the culprits is identified by the male victim in Tihar Jail. Delhi Police starts search operation in Haryana and Bihar for another accused. Her statement on the incident is recorded on the same day.

Dec 22: Government issues order to close around seven metro stations to stop the demonstrators from turning up at India Gate.

Dec 23: Fast track court set up by Delhi HC.

Dec 24: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requests the people to maintain calm, and that justice will be done.

Dec 26: The government takes the decision to fly her to Singapore for further medical treatment.

Dec 27: The victim is airlifted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

Dec 29: She succumbs to her injuries at 4:45 am.

Dec 30: The dead body is flown back to Delhi and cremated.

Jan 1, 2013: A Special Task Force (headed by Union Home Secretary) to look into the matters of women safety in Delhi is constituted.

Jan 3: A case of rape, murder, kidnapping, destruction of evidence, and attempted murder on the male victim is filed against all the five accused in the case.

Jan 7: Court orders in-camera trial.

Jan 9: Accused Ram Singh, Mukesh Kumar and Akshay Thakur demand a lawyer to fight their case; lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma fights their case.

Jan 10: Controversially, Sharma says the victims were themselves responsible for December 16 incident.

Jan 28: Juvenile Justice  Board declares that one of the six accused is a minor.

Feb 3: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, with suggestions taken from Verma Committee Report was introduced. The ordinance was passed by Lok Sabha on March 19 and Rajya Sabha on March 21.

Feb 5: Trial starts. Court records statements of the accused.

March 11: The main accused Ram Singh is found hanged in his Tihar jail cell being shared along with other two accused as well.

April 4: One of the accused Akshay Thakur tells the court that he is being threatened by Tihar guards.

April 5: One of the accused, Vinay, appears in court with a broken right arm and alleges that he was mocked and beaten by inmates. 

April 22: The Delhi high court dismisses the plea filed by the two accused requesting the proceedings in the case to be held on alternate days instead of day-to-day basis.

April  11: Vinay’s counsel tells the court that the two accused Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta are innocent as they were not on the bus on December 16; both had attended a music function on that day.  

April 18: Failing to appear in court several times, Court decides to replace Mukesh’s lawyer ML Sharma with advocate Rajeev Jain as amicus curie.

May 1:  Defence advocate VK Anand is stopped from cross-examining the male victim on his testimony in his TV interview about the incident.

May 4 - May 9: Police officers, male friend deposes.

May 14- June 3: Mother of the victim, investigating officers depose, cross-examined.

May 10: Vinay and Akshay’s advocate AP Singh submits an application in the court to ask the male victim to undergo a polygraph test. 

May 20: Courts declares “The trial is at its fag end as 77 witnesses have already been examined and few witnesses are only left as per prosecution”.

June 4: Juvenile accused turns 18 in custody.

July 11: A Juvenile Justice Board in New Delhi deferred announcing its verdict until July 25.

July 25: A Juvenile Justice Board is likely to announce its verdict on the accused Juvenile.

Bystanders write on a banner featuring images of 'government and rapists' as it lies on a road in New Delhi, after the cremation ceremony for the gangrape victim. (AFP file photo)

Read more:
Rapists nervous on turning killers
Most outrageous remarks on rape
Justice for a braveheart: the story unfolds
Main accused Ram Singh found hanging inside Tihar jail

Brain injury an 'important cause' in gangrape victim's death
Juvenile accused raped woman twice and ripped off her intestine


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