The decks were cleared for the commencement of fresh trial against Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case with the prosecution giving to the court a list of 64 witnesses they propose to examine.
Salman is facing the charge of running over his Toyota Land Cruiser on a group of persons sleeping on a footpath outside a bakery in suburban Bandra in September 2002, killing one and injuring four others.
A list of 64 witnesses was submitted to Sessions Judge D W Deshpande, who deferred the matter to February 12 and asked the state to file additional documents if they wanted to furnish in the fresh trial against the actor.
Meanwhile, the prosecution informed the court that it had not yet got a nod from Law and Judiciary to its letter seeking permission to file an appeal in Bombay High Court against the sessions court judgement ordering a fresh trial in this case.
The court asked the prosecution to inform on the next occasion if it wanted to file an appeal. The prosecution, in the letter to the government, said this was a fit case to file an appeal as the judge had erred in holding a de novo (fresh) trial. It said that there was no provision in law to hold a fresh trial and the evidence adduced in a court could not be discarded.
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The prosecution argued that it would be difficult for them to trace all the witnesses and re-examine them. In the eyes of law, the evidence recorded earlier in this case by a Magistrate cannot be discarded and may be used in the trial.
On December 5, the court had ordered a fresh trial on the ground that the witnesses had not been examined in the context of aggravated charge of culpable homicide, which was invoked against the actor midway through the proceedings.
The charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder attracts a 10-year sentence. The actor had earlier been tried by a Magistrate for a lesser offence of causing death by negligence, which entailed an imprisonment of two years.
The case, dragging on for over a decade, had taken a twist earlier this year when the Magistrate, after examining 17 witnesses, held that the charge of culpable homicide was made out against Salman and referred the matter to a sessions court as cases under this offence are triable by a higher court.