‘Moment of truth’ for accused in Dec 16 case
The trial in the December 16 gang rape case has entered a crucial phase with the special judge on Wednesday set to confront each of the four accused with the evidence that has come on record against them. Harish Nair reports.india Updated: Jul 09, 2013 02:20 IST
The trial in the December 16 gang rape case has entered a crucial phase with the special judge on Wednesday set to confront each of the four accused with the evidence that has come on record against them.
"The judge will ask each of the four accused questions on the basis of statements made by the witnesses and the material evidence before him. For the first time, the accused will also get a chance to say whatever they want to in their defence," prosecution sources said.
After this, the accused will be allowed to produce witnesses in their support. Recording of prosecution evidence ended on Monday with the completion of cross examination of the investigating officer. The last and 82nd witness was a carpenter whom the accused had assaulted and robbed in the bus before the gang rape victim and her male friend boarded it.
Boosting the prosecution case, all the witnesses have stood by their earlier statement, indicting all the four accused.
Asked when the keenly-awaited verdict will be out, prosecution sources said: "Now it should not take too long. Primary burden is of the prosecution. We finished examination of all 82 witnesses in 85 days. Now it is up to the defence."
The prosecution has demanded death sentence for the four accused- Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay. Prime accused Ram Singh had committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail on March 11 and the case against him abated.
The fifth accused is a minor against whom a juvenile justice board completed the trial and fixed the case for pronouncement of verdict on July 11. The maximum punishment he can be given, as per law, is a three-year confinement at a reformatory home.
Police have claimed DNA report established the involvement of all the accused in the crime. However, lawyers for the accused claimed the reports were "fabricated" and that their clients have been framed.
The key witnesses who deposed were the male friend of the victim, her mother, the doctors who treated her at Safdarjung Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, investigating officer and DNA experts.