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Groves trial delayed by pandemic

Groves trial delayed by pandemic

Tuesday 09 June 2020

Groves trial delayed by pandemic

Sarah Groves' father has warned the covid-19 crisis is likely to delay the trial of the man accused of her murder for the "immediate future".

The trial has already been regularly disrupted with hearings cancelled or postponed.

Last week marked seven years since Richard de Wit first faced charges in court.

He had been arrested in April 2013, soon after Miss Groves' body was found on a houseboat they were both living in on Lake Dal in Kashmir.

She had been stabbed multiple times, and he was charged with her murder which he denies.


Pictured: Richard de Wit denies murdering Sarah Groves. 

The most recent 'successful hearing' in the trial, was hearing number 181 which was held on 28 February. Since then five hearings have been scheduled but none have taken place - with the last two, scheduled for 8 and 9 April, being cancelled because of Covid-19.

Since then all of India, including the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, has been in lockdown, so the courts haven't functioned.

Miss Groves' father, Vic Groves said the latest reports he has received from his representative in the country indicate that steps may be under way in Srinagar to conduct hearings using a remote link from the Central Jail via which defendants can be represented.

"This is far from certain as the courts themselves are not able to function at present," said Mr Groves. "It is therefore unlikely that there will be any progress in the trial in the immediate future.

"Meanwhile a key milestone was passed last week. Wednesday June 3, 2020 represented the seventh anniversary of the commencement of the trial and the accused, Richard de Wit remains in custody at the Central Jail, Srinagar charged with Sarah’s murder on 6 April 2013.

"Of the 46 witnesses listed by the Prosecution, 8 remain to be heard. Two are significant witnesses – the taxi driver who drove Richard de Wit away from Srinagar before being directed to divert to a police station some 70 kilometres away and who has since become untraceable and the Chief Investigating Officer Nazir Ahmad, who will be the last prosecution witness to give evidence."

Mr Groves said a further report will be issued by the family when appropriate.

Pictured top: Sarah Groves. 

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