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"Positive" progression in murder trial

Thursday 23 May 2019

"Positive" progression in murder trial

Sarah Groves' family is hopeful the trial of the man accused of her murder is finally being given "an increased level of priority".

With no civil unrest in Srinagar yesterday to disrupt the 157th hearing and all "key players" appearing in court, Vic Groves said it had been a "positive day".

Progress was made throughout the hearing and the evidence of fingerprint expert Mr Hakeem Rashid was cross-examined by the newly-appointed counsel for defence.

The Judge set two consecutive dates for the next hearings and ordered the prosecutor to produce four witnesses. One of the first scheduled to appear is a taxi driver - "the most important remaining witness" - who was first summoned more than five years ago. His whereabouts have been unknown for some time and it is not yet clear whether he has been located.

Richard de Wit

Pictutred: The accused Richard de Wit.

If all witnesses appear as per summons at the next hearing, there will only be eight witnesses left to give evidence.

"Steps are being taken to persuade the court to recall five key witnesses from the early days of the trial for the second cross-examination," said Mr Groves. "These are the boat owner, his wife, Sarah's 'boyfriend' at the time and his two brothers - all members of the Shoda family. All have questions to answer following highly misleading and inaccurate information provided when they gave evidence first time around."

The next hearing is due to take place on 12 June.

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