December 16 gang rape case: Evidence SC relied upon to uphold death penalty
In April 2016, the Supreme Court began hearing the pleas of the four men sentenced to death for raping a paramedic in a bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012 and a year later upheld the death sentence. The woman died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.
Here are the main evidence the apex court had taken into account to decide that the four convicts deserved the gallows.
1. In its judgment on May 5, 2017, the top court found the evidence of the lone witness who was the victim’s friend, to be unimpeachable. It said the statement cannot be disbelieved simply because there were certain omissions that the defence had flagged.
2. The court also relied on the victim’s dying declaration and said such a declaration recorded on the basis of nods and gestures is not only admissible but also possesses evidentiary value. Of her three dying declarations that were recorded, the last one was in gestures.
ALSO WATCH | Death warrant in Delhi 2012 gangrape case: Rapists to be hanged on Jan 22
3. It also took into account the prosecution’s charge that the rape was brutal and inhuman because the accused inserted an iron rod into the victim’s vagina and took out her internal organs causing serious injuries that led to her death less than two weeks later.
4. DNA profile from the blood stains from the rod showed it had the victim’s blood. The rod was recovered at the instance of another accused Ram Singh – who committed suicide within a few months of the crime while he was lodged in Tihar jail.
5. The court also held that the DNA analysis had cogently linked each of the accused with the victims and the crime scene.
6. The court also said that the odontology report which the prosecution had relied upon heavily was credible because of matching of bite marks on the victim’s body with the tooth structure of the accused.
7. The court also said the crime was an act of conspiracy which was established by the sequence of events and the conduct of the accused.
8. The recovery of the bus and CCTV footage was also a major evidence for the prosecution which the Supreme Court said was not tampered with and there was no reason to doubt the footage.
9. The court also relied on the police theory and said the recovery of articles such as clothes and mobile phones of the victim and her friend from the accused cannot be discarded because there was no explanation from the accused explaining how they came to possess those articles.