HC allows Suryanelli rape victim to choose prosecution lawyer

PJ Kurien
PJ Kurien

Kochi, May 30 (PTI): Kerala High Court today permitted the victim in the Suryanelli sex scandal to engage a lawyer of her choice to assist prosecution in the appeals in the two decade old case.

A division bench comprising Justices K T Sankaran and M L Joseph Francis, hearing appeals by the convicts in the case, allowed the victim’s plea to engage a counsel to assist the prosecution.

Earlier, the woman’s petition seeking to appoint special prosecutors was rejected by the high court.

She complained that even at this point of time, main arguments of the accused centre around her character and conduct and she should be given an opportunity to counter the attack and aspersions on her character.

Considering this plea, the bench permitted the victim to engage a counsel to assist the prosecution.

The sex scandal took place in Suryanelli in Idukki district on January 1996. The victim, then a 16-year-old, was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor and was later confined and sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men.

The Supreme Court on January 31 set aside the Kerala High Court order that acquitted 35 persons who were convicted by a special court in September 2000. It also ordered the high court to conduct a re-trial in the case.



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