Kerala High Court suspends actress assault trial; reserves judgement on venue change for Friday

The state government supported the survivor’s plea to change the venue, since she felt that the trial court is “biased” and “hostile”
Prosecution claims in their plea that the trial court refused to admit Manju Warrier's claim that the accused Dileep had try to influence her
Prosecution claims in their plea that the trial court refused to admit Manju Warrier's claim that the accused Dileep had try to influence her

On Monday, Kerala High Court suspended the ongoing trial of the abduction and sexual assault of an actress under a special CBI court till Friday. Recently, the survivor had accused the trial court of being “biased” and “hostile” especially when the lawyers of the accused — Dileep — had made her uncomfortable with their questions. The High Court has reserved its judgement for Friday.

Taking into consideration the actress’ opinion about the trial court, the state government has supported her choice to change the court. The prosecution upheld her arguments and urged the High Court to grant their plea. The allegations against the trial court are manifold. The first instance includes the refusal to include witness testimonies.

In the case of actress Manju Warrier, who was cross-examined on February this year, the court ignored her statement that the accused Dileep had tried to influence her. She revealed that her daughter asked her not to say anything against her father. However, the court noted that such an admission during re-examination was inadmissible in court.

Adding to the same issue, the survivor had informed the court that the eighth accused (Dileep) told Bhama that he would burn the survivor for the latter’s part in his marriage falling apart. However, the court dismissed it as hearsay and refused the prosecutor’s request to record the statement for corroboration. The prosecution also adds that there have been many instances when the court refused to record witness statements that have been in support of the survivor. They have been changed by including words such as “witness adds” or “clarifies”.

Moreover, the survivor and prosecution claim, in their plea, that the court had allowed secondary victimisation when the victim had to sit through “watching and identifying the visuals recorded by the accused”. The apparent in-camera proceeding was attended by 17 advocates of which eight for the eighth accused.

Earlier this year, several key witnesses turned hostile, recanting their admission. Actors Siddique and Bhama, who admitted to a scuffle between Dileep and the survivor, later changed their stand. In March, actress Bindu Panicker, who stated that she was aware of Dileep meeting the prime accused Pulsar Suni at Hotel Abad Plaza in 2013, changed her earlier statement.

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