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New judge appointed to Groves trial

New judge appointed to Groves trial

Wednesday 05 June 2019

New judge appointed to Groves trial


A new judge - the fourth person to hold the position - has been appointed to the Sarah Groves' murder trial.

This comes as Kashmiri legal authorities announced an across-the-board reassignment of judges from their existing areas of responsibility.

Judge Tahir Khurshid Raina became responsible for the trial in August 2017.  He has been replaced with immediate effect by Judge Vijay Singh Manhas, who previously held the position of Additional Special Judge in anti-corruption cases. 

He will continue ruling over proceedings from hearing 159, which is set to take place on Wednesday 12 June. 

Groves.jpg

Vic and Kate Groves have been waiting years for any sort of closure over the death of their daughter. 

Vic Groves, Sarah's father, said: "On balance, despite the introduction of yet another new key player in this long drawn out trial, this is probably good news.  Judge Raina was definitely better than either of his two predecessors but even his track record, during the two years he was in post, was not good.  Progress was excruciatingly slow.

"We look to Judge Manhas to continue the recent improvement in urgency and priority so that the trial can be concluded in 2019."

Sarah Groves resized

Pictured: Sarah Groves. 

Sarah was murdered six years ago on a houseboat in India. The trial investigating her death has been crawling forwards ever since, although signs of improvement have been clear in recent times. 

Since the hundredth hearing, only five witnesses have taken the stand and been fully examined. One of the factors bogging the trial down is the continued civil unrest in Srinagar, which prevents the accused, Richard de Wit, being transported to the courts. 

Mr Groves said this of the upcoming hearings next week: "It is unclear whether the newly appointed judge will be ready to hear the case by then.  It is also unclear whether a new round of civil unrest, which appears to be escalating, will once again prevent the court from sitting."

Pictured top: The accused, Richard de Wit, who denies murdering Sarah Groves. 

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