With another prosecutor appointed to the trial of the man accused of murdering Sarah Groves, her family say it is another sign of the lack of respect given to the ongoing case.
The Guernsey-woman was killed on a houseboat in Kashmir in April 2013.
Dutchman Richard de Wit was arrested soon after, and has been held on remand, while his trial continues, ever since.
The latest scheduled hearing in his trial was the 177th planned, but yet again there was absolutely no progress made.
Miss Groves parents and brothers have been kept informed throughout the long running process by a legal representative in the court, but have said communications with Kashmir remain difficult as there is still no internet and only restricted mobile telephone facilities following civil difficulties in the region.
Miss Groves' father, Vic, had hoped the family would see progress during 2020, but his hopes appear to have been dashed already.
"This hearing, the first in 2020, follows a year when very little progress was made in the trial. Only one out of 46 listed witnesses gave evidence in 2019.
"We enter each new year with a spirit of optimism but as usual this has received an early setback."
Pictured: Sarah Groves' parents, Kate and Vic.
The Groves' family were told that the latest hearing, scheduled for late last week, could not proceed for two reasons – "the Judge was late returning from the annual court shutdown due to flight delays caused by bad weather and under-trial prisoners were not brought to court because of a lack of available Police resource due to potential problems with Republic Day on 26 January."
Mr Groves also said they have had it confirmed that Mr Mumtaz Saleem has replaced Mr Mohammad Mushraf as Prosecutor, with Mr Saleem becoming the eighth Prosecutor to have been assigned to the case.
"Here we have three clear examples why the Kashmiri system of justice is a broken system, not fit for purpose," said Mr Groves.
"Firstly, it cannot be good practice to appoint eight Prosecutors to a trial, often for no clear and good reason.
"Secondly, there has been bad weather in the area for days – a person of senior standing such as a Judge should never be ‘late for the office’.
"Finally, Republic Day is nine days away. For the Police to claim a lack of resource for this reason is the clearest indication of the lack of respect that is given to the pursuit of justice in Kashmir.
"Will the abrogation of Article 370 and the classification of Kashmir as a Union Territory within the Federal State of India thereby losing its Special Status held since the end of the second World War make any difference? Early signs are that that it will not."
The next scheduled hearing date is Saturday 1 February 2020.
Pictured top: Richard de Wit denies murdering Sarah Groves.
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