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Useful meeting over Sarah Groves murder trial

Useful meeting over Sarah Groves murder trial

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Useful meeting over Sarah Groves murder trial

Wednesday 25 July 2018

The Indian High Commissioner HE Mr Y.K. Sinha has promised to do what he can to move forward the long-stalled Sarah Groves murder trial.

Her father, Vic Groves said a meeting between himself and his wife and the visiting High Commissioner when he was in Guernsey, “went very well, he was approachable and a likeable guy. We asked whether he could do anything, and he said he would try a few things which haven’t been tried before. He has to be careful though, he can’t interfere in a judicial process.

“It’s the highest point at which we can enter the Indian Government without being in India. It’s not going to be instant, we don’t have that sort of hope. But we are now not just a name to them, he sees this is a high profile case in the Channel Islands. Also, his wife was there, and it is always good to have the female voice.”

They were introduced by Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, who has, Mr Groves said: “done more than anyone else” in advancing the cause.

Although hopeful, Mr Groves said they did not know “when or where” this new progress would come. But, they have contact details of the High Commissioner’s attache, so can keep in contact.

On Monday, days after the meeting, the 123rd scheduled hearing in the trial in Srinagar took place – in which there was no progress due to the non-attendance of witnesses. The man accused of the murder, Richard de Wit, was brought to the court, but due to the lack of witnesses, the case was immediately adjourned. 

In a statement released afterwards, Mr Groves vented his frustration: “The non-appearance of witnesses is the most frustrating reason for this case to stall in the way it has.  In virtually all other jurisdictions in the world, witnesses who fail to turn up on the appointed date, at the appointed time would be held in contempt of court and would face serious consequences.  Within the Kashmiri system of justice, it seems, the issuing of a warrant counts for nothing.  They are never enforced and witnesses go unpunished.  Even bailable warrants, with a value of roughly £50, are ignored.

Sarah Groves and Richard De Wit

Pictured: Richard de Wit (l) who denies murdering Sarah Groves (r) 

“Of the three witnesses summoned to appear today, the one currently under cross-examination first attended court on 21st October 2017.  He was unable to take the stand until 25th November, mainly due to civil unrest.  Since then there have been seventeen scheduled hearings.  He was partially cross-examined at four of those hearings although he consistently turned up late (on one occasion only 45 minutes before close of play).  All other hearings have either been postponed through civil unrest or his non-appearance.

“This reflects very badly on the Kashmiri system of justice and raises the unavoidable question – do they really care about the brutal murder of a young lady in the prime of her life?”

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