Ram Singh’s death will not affect the trial into the December 16 gang rape, criminal law experts have said.
“The suicide by the main accused will not have any effect whatsoever on the case. Now, with his death, Ram Singh’s name will be struck off the list of accused and the trial of the other five accused will proceed,” Justice SN Dhingra, former judge of the Delhi High Court and an expert in criminal law, said.
Singh and four others charged with murder, gang rape, kidnap and unnatural offences were being tried by a fast-track court in Saket. Besides them, a sixth accused, who has been declared a minor, is facing proceedings before the Juvenile Justice Board.
The prosecution claims it has enough evidence, collected from witnesses and after forensic and circumstantial examinations, to nail each of the accused.
Of the 81 witnesses listed by the prosecution, 45 have already deposed in court and have been cross-examined by the lawyers for the accused.
“In such cases, death of any particular accused will not affect the case against others. This is, if the prosecution has sufficient evidence regarding the role of each accused, said Justice RS Sodhi, another former Delhi High Court judge.
Justice Dhingra said that as Singh had not been convicted and was merely an accused, his kin too do not have the right to represent him in the trial to “remove the blot”.
“This option is available in a higher court if someone convicted dies during the hearing of this appeal. Sometimes, relatives of the convict represent him or her to remove the stigma of conviction,” says Dhingra.