December 16 gangrape: Defence begins arguments against death reference in HC

On Monday,with the counsels for all four accused present,Advocate A P Singh began arguments on behalf of Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: November 12, 2013 2:20:36 am

The counsel representing the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case began arguments against their death penalty before the Delhi High Court on Monday. Last week,the bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani had pulled up the lawyer for two of the convicts for failing to appear in court. It had said that amicus curiae would be appointed to represent Mukesh and Pawan if their lawyer failed to appear in court or the arguments.

On Monday,with the counsels for all four accused present,Advocate A P Singh began arguments on behalf of Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.

The four convicts also appeared in the court,with Vinay Sharma (19) wearing bandages on his arm and head,claiming that he had been beaten up by jail officials. The accused informed the court that he had suffered a fracture on his arm and required 12 stitches for the injuries on his head. The court has directed Vinay to file a complaint before the magistrate who visits jails regarding his alleged mistreatment. Advocate M L Sharma,who failed to appear before the court for the last hearing,is expected to begin arguments once Singh concludes.

Beginning the arguments on behalf of Vinay and Akshay,Advocate A P Singh invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s statements against death penalty,stating that “god alone can take life because he alone gives it”.

Singh also raised the plea of alibi for both Vinay and Akshay,claiming that Vinay had been at a musical programme organised by a local church in RK Puram,while Akshay had left Delhi with his sister-in-law and nephew on December 15.

The accused had taken the same pleas during the trial,with Vinay submitting a video recording taken on his cellphone to show that he,as well as co-accused Pawan Gupta,had been at a musical programme in the RK Puram district park with Vinay’s parents and neighbours on December 16.

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