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[Kerala Actor Assault Case] 'Victim Was Harassed During Trial; Court Did Not Control': Prosecution Tells Kerala High Court Seeking Transfer

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
30 Oct 2020 7:20 AM GMT
[Kerala Actor Assault Case] Victim Was Harassed During Trial; Court Did Not Control: Prosecution Tells Kerala High Court Seeking Transfer
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The victim of the Kerala actor abduction and sexual assault case was harassed during the trial by the lawyers of the accused and the trial court did not control it, said the prosecution in the High Court of Kerala on Friday.The submission was made before a bench of Justice V G Arun which is considering the applications filed by the prosecution and the victim seeking the transfer of the...

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The victim of the Kerala actor abduction and sexual assault case was harassed during the trial by the lawyers of the accused and the trial court did not control it, said the prosecution in the High Court of Kerala on Friday.

The submission was made before a bench of Justice V G Arun which is considering the applications filed by the prosecution and the victim seeking the transfer of the case to another court.

The victim's lawyer, Senior Advocate S Sreekumar, also supported the submission made by the Public Prosecutor, Mr. Suman Chakravarthy.

"The victim was harassed like anything by the accused. The Court did not do anything to control", the senior counsel seconded the submissions of the prosecutor.

The prosecutor said that it was astonishing that about 20 lawyers of the accused were present during the examination of the victim during the in-camera trial and that the Court did nothing to protect the victim.

Mr. Sreekumar highlighted the fact that it is the prosecution itself that is seeking the transfer of the case, unlike the accused in most cases.

Mr. Chakravarthy told the bench that the Special Prosecutor of the case, A Sureshan, will submit a sealed cover detailing the objectionable approaches taken by the trial court.

When Justice Arun asked why the transfer was sought now after the examination of nearly 80 witnesses, the prosecutor replied that oral objections before the trial court were raised at earlier stages and that the prosecution was hoping to see a change in the trial judge's approach before taking a drastic step of seeking the change of the court.

Following the brief arguments, Justice Arun posted the case to Monday(November 2) and said that he will peruse the documents in the meanwhile.

The prosecution said that no personal allegations have been made against the judge. Justice Arun agreed that the application has been "carefully worded".

In the transfer application, the victim stated that she was aggrieved by the "biased and hostile" attitude of the presiding judge.

Earlier, the Prosecution had filed an application before the trial court seeking to stop the proceedings to move the High Court for transferring the case. This application was dismissed by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge (Special/CBI)-III, Ernakulam, last Friday and the was trial directed to be resumed from November 3.

The trial was specially assigned to this court by the High Court at the request of the victim for a woman judge to try the csae.

In the transfer application, the actor alleged that judge sat like a "mute spectator" when she was harassed by the lawyer of prominent actor Dileep, who is the alleged mastermind behind the crime. She further alleged that the trial judge refused to record certain portions of her testimony without any justification, despite repeated requests made by the Prosecutor.

The transfer plea further pointed out that the trial court has also not taken a decision on the application moved by the prosecution seeking to cancel the bail of Dileep on the ground of intimidating the victim and other witnesses in the case.

Prominent Malayalam film actor Dileep is accused of hatching the criminal conspiracy behind the abduction and the sexual assault of the victim, also an actor, in a moving vehicle in the outskirts of Cochin city in February 2017.

The prosecution has so far examined 80 witnesses in the case, including certain prominent actors of the Malayalam film industry. Some of them have reportedly turned hostile. The victim of the crime has also given her statement.

The Special Prosecutor had taken exception to certain statements and remarks said to have been made by the judge during the course of witness examination.

"The prosecution honestly believes that the prosecution as well as the victim will not get fair trial and justice from this court", the application filed by Prosecution to defer the proceeedings had said.

"The prosecution intends to approach the honourable High Court for transfer of the trial of this case from this Honourable Court to any other court. Therefore, it is humbly submitted that the prosecution is not in a position to conduct the trial of the above case before this court on the above grounds and also on several other grounds which are not to be mentioned here to protect the interests of justice", the plea had stated.

Dismissing the Proseuction's application on Friday, Special Judge Honey M Varghese instructed the investigating officer to take steps to resume the trial from November 3 to complete the proceedings within the time frame set by the Supreme Court.

"In the light of direction of Hon'ble Supreme Court to dispose of the case on or before 04.02.20201, investigating officer is directed to take urgent steps to resume the trial on 03.11.2020", the Court ordered.

In November 2019, while rejecting Dileep's plea for a copy of the memory card allegedly containing the visuals of the sexual crime, the Supreme Court had ordered that the trial in the case should be completed expeditiously, "preferably within six months".

The Kerala Police had arrested Dileep in July 2017 alleging that he was the mastermind of the crime. After 88 days of custody, the High Court granted him bail.


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