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Thursday 02 July 2020

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It has now been more than four months since any progress was made in the trial of the man accused of murdering Sarah Groves, with technical problems now wreaking havoc during a virtual hearing.

The case of the State of Jammu & Kashmir v Richard de Wit started more than seven years ago - when the Dutchman was arrested shortly after the death of Miss Groves in April 2013.

He has always denied killing her and at times the trial has looked close to collapsing, as months have passed at times without any progress being made.


Pictured: Sarah Groves and Richard de Wit. He denies murdering her on a houseboat on Lake Dal in April 2013. 

The 188th scheduled hearing in the trial was due to take place earlier this week, after other recent hearings were cancelled due to the pandemic.

A virtual hearing was arranged but the remote links needed to run the hearing didn't work.

Miss Groves' father Vic said this is just the latest reason for a delay in the trial.

"No progress has been possible since hearing 181 on 28 February 2020 either because of the non-attendance of key players or because of Covid-19," he said. "Lockdown is still in force throughout India and the court system had been completely closed in Srinagar due to a localised infection, but it re-opened for business on 29 June.

"Arrangements were in place for the defendant Richard de Wit to participate via a remote link from the Central Jail. Similar arrangements were attempted for the witnesses to appear via a virtual link. In reality nothing seemed to work, no witnesses were available to give evidence and the case could not proceed."

Vic Groves said his and his family's frustrations continue to grow. Mr de Wit's defence counsel were not in attendance anyway so the hearing couldn't have proceeded even if the technology had been working. 

"This outcome was not altogether surprising," Mr Groves said, "given the problems of lockdown coupled with the problems of establishing effective remote links. This is further evidence of the disdain in which the trial has been held by all levels of the judiciary in Kashmir."

The next scheduled hearing date is next week, Wednesday 8 July.

Sarah Groves Training Ride Silence and Applause

Pictured: The riders aiming to complete the 2021 Tour de Sez gathered on Sarah Groves' birthday recently to remember her.

Sarah Groves would have turned 32 on Sunday 21 June this year. 

Those involved in the 2021 Tour de Sez in her memory met on that date to pay tribute to her, with a minute's silence before a one-minute round of applause.

A training ride the group completed that day was part of the regular programme they are following before taking on the 2021 Naked Leaf Tour de Sez, which will see them cycle from Guernsey to Rome. The fundraising challenge is scheduled to take place in September next year.

Pictured top: Sarah Groves' parents Kate and Vic Groves. 

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