The petition launched by Sarah Groves father earlier this month has attracted tens of thousands of signatures, but her family remain frustrated as the court case of the man accused of murdering her has faltered again in Srinigar.
The 111th scheduled hearing was due to be held yesterday, but Miss Groves' father told Express it was "another wasted day in court, once again due to the lack of witnesses and professional ineptitude."
Vic Groves said Sub-Inspector Kuldeep Koul, who was first examined at scheduled hearing number 107 on 25 November 2017, failed to attend court yesterday despite a summons for the completion of his cross-examination. In a statement, Mr Groves wrote:
"This reflected very badly on the Public Prosecutor, who was seriously rebuked by the judge for not only failing to ensure that SI Koul attended court but also because no other witnesses had been summoned. This was despite earlier instructions to our legal representative to ensure that this situation did not arise.
"The judge also seriously rebuked the Public Prosecutor for failing to produce a medical report asked for at an earlier hearing relating to the mental health of the accused, Richard de Wit (who was in court )."
The judge used the scheduled hearing to issue a summons against Prosecution Witness 7, Ashok Singh, to appear at the next hearing. Mr Singh is the taxi driver who was driving Mr de Wit from Srinagar towards Jammu in the immediate aftermath of Miss Groves death. He was first summoned to appear on 28 March 2014, but Mr Singh has yet to take the stand and there are unconfirmed reports that his whereabouts are currently unknown. Mr Singh is considered a key witness and Mr Groves has said "his evidence could be pivotal in the trial."
Mr Groves growing frustrations with the trial of the man accused of murdering his daughter reached a new high recently, with a petition being launched to try and force the British Government to intervene.
Since it was set up on Sunday 11 February 2018, the petition has attracted more than 14,000 signatures. Mr Groves said:
"Its aims are to bring the unacceptable events of this trial (a murder trial) to the attention of the British Government in the hope that a formal complaint can be lodged with the Indian Government. It also calls on the Kashmiri authorities to give the trial the respect and dignity it merits as well as a request for the recall of key witnesses who were examined and cross-examined in the early days of the trial in a totally inadequate way.
"Today’s events add weight to the petition and the underlying reasons behind it."
Mr Groves added that throughout the trial "one of the weakest links has been the calibre of the Public Prosecutors appointed." The trial currently has its fifth Prosecutor, but "none has displayed the level of professionalism required for a trial of this importance."
Mr Groves said steps are being taken to establish "whether there is any way a new Prosecutor can be appointed due to the total lack of professionalism demonstrated by the one currently in post (Mr Mohammad Sultan)."
The next scheduled court hearings are Friday 9 March and Saturday 10 March 2018. You can sign the petition seeking Justice for Sarah here.
Pictured: Sarah Groves
Meanwhile, fundraising efforts are continuing for the Sarah Groves Foundation; the charity which was set up in memory of Miss Groves and which raises money to support community initiatives which benefit children and the arts.
A trio of men are arranging an event for Saturday 24 February, ahead of the third 'Tour De Sez' cycle ride later this year. The Tour will see a group of riders, along with a support team, make their way from St Malo too Amsterdam, in seven days. The riders must raise £2,000 each to cover their costs and to contribute to the charity.
Josh Gabriel, Simon Rowe and John Surcombe are all part of the 2018 'Tour De Sez' and they are arranging a concert this weekend to contribute towards the fundraising.
Mr Gabriel said that following recent media coverage of the petition "we feel now, more than ever, that the Foundation set up in her memory deserves the support from the public.
"In order to raise the funds needed, we are focusing on the Smile that Sarah Groves had, by holding a concert aiming to put a smile on everyone's face."
Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
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