The State of India -v- Richard de Wit
Media Release - Released by Vic Groves, Wednesday 3rd May 2017, Guernsey - for Immediate Use
This Media Release relates to hearing number 93 in the above trial which took place today in the District Court, Srinagar.
First Evidence Heard Since 29th September 2015.
Prosecutors Determine to Expedite Proceedings:
Today’s hearing was the first in which evidence was heard since 29th September 2015 – a period of more than nineteen months during which time 37 hearings were scheduled, none of which heard evidence or progressed the case in any way.
The witness heard today was Dr Manzoor-ul-Haq, a member of the medical team that conducted the post mortem on Sarah. He confirmed what was already known – that she had suffered as many as 45 stab wounds.
A detailed copy of the doctors’ report was submitted to the court. The police added to that report that Richard de Wit had purchased a knife identical to the one allegedly used in the attack just two days beforehand.
Despite all efforts to secure legal representation for the defendant, it appears that none was present in court today. Surprisingly, therefore, and in a departure from previous protocol, the defendant was granted the court’s permission to cross-examine the witness himself.
He challenged the autopsy report and reiterated that ‘he was being framed by the local police’. He drew sighs of anguish from the crowded courtroom when he asked about specific details of the autopsy.
Afterwards the Prosecutor, Mr Syed Maqbool, gave his reaction to the day’s proceedings:
“It was a bit of a joke, really. I mean we know that de Wit is trying to slow the whole hearing down. First, he refused to have a lawyer, now he is cross-examining witnesses. Today was the beginning of producing witnesses. More witnesses will be produced before the court in the next hearing and we want to expedite this case.”
De Wit asked the court to release money that was ‘confiscated’ from his possession at the time of his arrest shouting “I need the money back”. He also repeated his earlier demand to move the hearing to a higher court. The demand was rejected. Finally, he requested bail, which was again immediately denied.
There were clear signs that Richard de Wit’s physical and mental health have deteriorated.