State of India versus Richard de Wit (62nd hearing)

Released by Vic Groves from Guernsey for immediate use

Start of media release.

Today represented the 62nd occasion upon which the court has been convened but as on so many other occasions absolutely no progress was made in hearing the case itself. Only 25 have days have been productive.

This was a bad day in court for two reasons.

Firstly, of the 7 witnesses summoned to attend only 2 showed up. However, none was processed due to a further aberration on the part of the accused Richard de Wit.

Yesterday represented the first occasion upon which Mr Tanweer Mir had represented Richard de Wit following his re-appointment as his lawyer although, due to the lack of witnesses turning up, no progress was made.

Today, Richard de Wit decided once again to dismiss Mr Mir. The reasons are unclear at this stage and until checked out are too bizarre to state here. Mr Mir was visibly angered by this decision and immediately left the courtroom and the court complex to return to Delhi. It would seem unlikely that even if offered the opportunity to be reinstated that he will take it.

Richard de Wit, therefore, has to find a new lawyer to represent him and the appropriate authorities in Srinagar have been instructed to provide him with a list of legal aid counsellors. This is all very familiar and leaves the case in a limbo state until such times as new Counsel is in place. Historically, this process has taken months to resolve and if successful, the case will be on its second judge, its second Prosecutor and its third Defence Counsel.

The greatest cause of regret is that the court was about to grant permission for the recall of a number of key defence witnesses – a factor considered extremely important due to the volume of evidence building against some of them.

A further Media Release will be issued when the confusion surrounding today’s events becomes clearer and when any decisions regarding Richard de Wit and his legal representation have been settled.

A further hearing date has been set for Wednesday 27th January which follows a two-and-a-half-week winter recess in court proceedings.

End of media release.

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