India's gang rape murder trial to begin

2013-02-04 14:02
court

court (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

New Delhi - The trial of five men accused of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old Indian student in New Delhi in December was due to begin on Tuesday.

All have pleaded not guilty to charges including murder, gang rape, abduction, destroying evidence and criminal conspiracy at a fast-track court in the capital's southern area of Saket.

The accused are Ram Singh, a bus driver, and his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor, and Akshay Thakur, a bus cleaner. If convicted, the men could face the death penalty.

A sixth suspect, 17-and-a-half years old, is to be tried in a juvenile court.

The student was allegedly beaten with an iron rod and raped by the men on a moving bus in the Indian capital on December 16. She died of injuries in a hospital in Singapore two weeks later.

The labyrinthine procedures of India's legal system have caused a lot of confusion. The following is an account of how such cases usually unfold.

Pre-trial stage

Pre-trial motions began with prosecutors laying charges against the accused in court.

All criminal cases go to a district or sessions court which is the trial court. A single judge usually presides.

The court hears legal argument on the charges from prosecution and defence. The judge determines which charges will go forward, or rules to discharge the accused if there are insufficient grounds for trial.

Trial

The trial begins after the framing of the charges as described above. If the accused plead not guilty, the trial begins.

"As the trial begins, the prosecution gives evidence to substantiate the charges," said RS Sodhi, a retired judge of the Delhi High Court. "The prosecution is asked to examine its witnesses who are later cross-examined by the defence."

The defence also presents its case.

At this stage, the judge can dismiss the trial if he considers the evidence to be insufficient.
That can also happen in the final stage of the trial which consists of final arguments by lawyers for both sides.

The judge makes the decision without a jury.

If the court finds the accused guilty, defence lawyers and the prosecution go through a final round of arguments on the sentence, which the judge imposes.

Appeals

Anyone convicted can go to the High Court. If the High Court finds them guilty as well, they can appeal to the Supreme Court.

"Even if the Supreme Court upholds the verdicts, the accused can file a petition for a review of the judgement and later a curative petition that contends that there has been a palpable miscarriage of justice and the court must cure the defects in the judgement," Sodhi said.

A bench of two or more appellate judges usually hear such cases.

If the appellate courts uphold the conviction, the accused have the last resort of filing a clemency plea with the president.

"The president could grant clemency in various forms: reduce or modify the sentence, or totally waive the sentence and set him free," Sodhi said.

Time frame

There is no time frame for the trial or appeals, which often drag on for decades.
The trial in the 1992 gang rape case of Rajasthani woman Bhanwari Devi began in 1994.

All five defendants were acquitted in 1996 by a trial court and the appeal filed the same year is still pending in the Rajasthan High Court.

But the public pressure generated in the Delhi gang rape and murder case led to it being moved to a fast-track court.

This court is given fewer cases, which are heard continuously with a minimum of breaks. How fast it actually processes a case depends on the volume of evidence and the number of witnesses produced, lawyer Vrinda Grover said.

The Supreme Court has issued a directive to trial courts saying rape trials must be completed within two years and undue long adjournments should be avoided.

- SAPA

Read more on:    india  |  india bus rape
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.