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Staines murder convict acquitted

india Updated: May 21, 2008 02:43 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

Sudarshan Hansda, alias Chenchu, a juvenile who was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment in the Staines murder case in 2000, was acquitted and released from the Probation Hostel in Angul on Tuesday.

Sudarshan was 13 when he was arrested in connection with the killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons in 1999. Hansda was 14 when he was convicted by a juvenile court in Bhubaneswar.

Besides Hansda, there were 13 other accused, including Dara Singh, who were convicted by a trial court in September 2003. While Dara Singh was awarded the death sentence, the other 12 were given life sentences.

In May 2005, the Orissa High Court commuted Dara’s death penalty to life imprisonment. The court also acquitted 11 of the life convicts. However, it retained the life imprisonment awarded to Mahendra Hembram.

Hansda continued to stay in the juvenile home in Angul till he was released on Tuesday.