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Second reshuffle in Groves trial

Second reshuffle in Groves trial

Wednesday 12 June 2019

Second reshuffle in Groves trial


Just two weeks after the sudden announcement that the Judge overseeing the murder trial of Sarah Groves was being replaced, it has been revealed the prosecutor is also being ousted.

As the 158th scheduled hearing in the trial, it was expected to be the first to be heard under the new Judge, but nothing went ahead when the news that the prosecutor was being replaced reached the court.

It is not yet known why the judges and prosecutors are being replaced, but it is suspected to either be an anti-corruption measure, or in response to continued criticism aimed at a number of cases currently ongoing in India. 

government

Pictured: The Kashmiri Government's order to replace all of the prosecutors. 

Vic Groves, the father of Sarah, is continuing to follow the trial closely. After speaking to their legal representative in Srinagar after the latest hearing, he said: "Something or somebody is certainly shaking up the court system in J&K.  This is long overdue but whether or not it has any noticeable benefits remains to be seen.

"The appointment of a new judge could be beneficial and a letter has been written to him summarising the history of the trial to date with a list of key matters we would like him to address.  His predecessor showed early signs of achieving his declared aim of a speedy outcome but, during the 22 months he was in charge, very little progress was made.

"We have been lobbying for the replacement of Mr Mohammad Sultan as Prosecutor for a long time.  This is undoubtedly good news as his performance throughout his 19 months in post has been woeful."

Sarah groves unrest

Civil unrest has also bogged down the progress of the trial. 

The new prosecutor for the case has not yet been named, and he is not expected to be in post for the hearing scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday), but a stand-in could be available. 

When he does get the job, the prosecutor will be the sixth to be involved in the case since it started in 2013. 

Mr Groves added: "No witnesses were present today and may well not have been even if the above changes were not in effect.  The main witness summoned to appear today was the taxi driver Mr Ashok Singh, first summoned on 28 March 2014 and whose whereabouts have not been known for some while.  Renewed efforts are being made to locate him."

The next hearing is expected to take place tomorrow, 13 June. After that, nothing has yet been planned. 

Pictured top: Sarah Groves and the man accused of murdering her, Richard de Wit. 

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