The Kerala High Court has deferred the trial in the actor assault case till November 6, and will consider the request for change of court by the prosecution and the survivor on Friday. The single bench of Justice VG Arun said that he is posting the matter for hearing on Friday and the trial will be deferred till that day, Live Law reports.
The survivor actor's lawyer S Sreekumar said that the trial court had overruled the objections against questions affecting the character of the survivor, which were raised by the accused. The court had allowed the objectionable questions. The transfer of the case to another court will not affect the deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the trial, Sreekumar said.
He also added that the trial judge had made remarks against the prosecutor, reading out an anonymous letter against the latter. How will the survivor have faith in a court for which the prosecution itself has expressed doubts and no-confidence, asked the lawyer.
The survivor was cross-examined for nine continuous days, and the survivor of a sexual assault had to undergo another ordeal, Sreekumar said.
Justice VG Arun asked if all the incidents mentioned by the survivor's lawyer reflect bias on the part of the judge of the trial court. The prosecutor suggested that the bench ask for a report from the trial judge to see if they are still interested in continuing with the case amid the controversy.
Referring the Sakshi Vs Union of India case of 2004, the prosecutor cited the Supreme Couort judgment on the vital role of the presiding officer in being sensitive in an in-camera proceeding of a sexual assault case.
But in the actor assault case of Kerala, the survivor was subjected to several days of cross examination by a number of lawyers of the accused, and the objections raised by the prosecution were not even recorded. The prosecutor had threatened to walk out of the courtroom once, the High Court was told on Monday.
The prosecutor also informed HC that unwarranted remarks were made in the trial court about the conduct of the survivor.
The Supreme Court judgment that allowed access of the memory card (containing footage of the assault) to the accused, actor Dileep, had not excluded the prosecution. Accordingly, the FSL (forensic science laboratory) report should have been given to all concerned, however, the trial court has not provided a copy to the prosecution.
The prosecutor told the High Court that such proceedings, unheard of in a criminal trial, showed that the trial was not being conducted in a fair manner.
Justice VG Arun asked if these events, even if considered flaws or mistakes, reflect bias on the part of the judge. The prosecutor said that 'justice should not only be done but also be seen to be done'.