Released by Vic Groves, Thursday 16th March 2017

At the 87th hearing of the case held on 31st January, the defendant stated that he wanted ‘to talk to Sarah’s parents’ because he had a ‘secret’ to disclose.  He claimed to have new information that he didn’t want to disclose to anyone else.

After some difficulty, we were able to speak to Richard de Wit by phone on 23rd February with the permission of the Jail Superintendent in Srinagar.

It was an unsatisfactory call from which we could understand his reasons for wanting to talk to us.  The details must remain confidential but we can reveal that the statements he made were without foundation and confirmed the wisdom of our decision not to travel to Kashmir in order to hear his revelations.

At the last hearing on 1st March in which the judge appeared to grant him permission to represent himself, we knew that this was not a realistic proposition.  Based on the nature of our phone call with him, our deduction was that he is just about ‘fit to stand trial’ but certainly not ‘fit to represent himself’.

Today’s developments come as no surprise and we welcome the decisive action taken by the court in taking the matter completely out of his control.  The tail has been wagging the dog for too long and we have been advocating these measures for well over twelve months.  Hopefully, progress can now be made as there are still 23 witnesses to give evidence out of the 46 listed.

The source of the above material is predominantly the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London following contact from the British High Commission in Delhi with additional information from an in-court representation.  Further information is being sought about today’s hearing from the Prosecutor and a further media release will be sent out as and when anything significant is learned.

Pictures courtesy of Caters News Agency who must be acknowledged in any reproduction or re-use.