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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Manu Sharma convicted for Jessica murder case

National News : Justice for JessicaSetting aside his acquittal by the trial court, the Delhi High court today convicted Manu Sharma for murdering model Jessica Lall more than seven and a half years ago.

Besides, co-accused Vikas Yadav and Amardeep Singh were held guilty of destroying evidence.
All the three were directed to be taken into custody forthwith.

A Division Bench headed by Justice R S Sodhi and Justice P K Bhasin called ''positively perverse'' the judgment of the trial court acquitting Manu Sharma on February 21 this year.
They severely criticised the judge of the trial court for making an immature assessment of the material on record, which is self-contradictory, based on misreading of material.

The judges agreed with CBI counsel Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium that the trial court wrongly believed a case of the prosecution that two shots had been fired by two people from as many different pistols even as it was never the case of the prosecution.

The court disdainfully dismissed the two-gun theory, bolstered by senior counsel national newsRam Jethmalani trying to make Jessica, the victim, look like an accused provoking a tall Sikh man into firing a shot.

''Much was sought to be made of the report of the ballistic expert, Roop Singh, saying the empty cartridges recovered from the place of occurrence appear to have been fired from two weapons. His report cannot be relied upon, not evidenced under the law laid down by Code of Criminal Procedure,'' the judges said.

Second opinion of another ballistic expert, Prem Sagar Manocha, categorically stating it impossible to say whether the cartridges have been fired from two different weapons was also doubted by the judges, calling him unreliable.

''The two-weapon theory appears to be concoction of the defence and a manipulation of evidence, in particular of Shyan Munshi who for the first time in court introduced such a theory,'' the judgement said.

The Bench said the trial court had also erred in holding the three witnesses hostile. The trial court grossly erred in manner of appreciation of testimonies of the witnesses, the judges added.
The trial court arrived at a factually wrong finding, not borne out from the evidence on record to the effect that she thought that he had fired a shot at Jessica Lall and that she was not an eye witness, said the judges.


The court set aside the defence argument that Bina Ramani, owner of the Tamarind Cafe, where Jessica was killed on April 29, 1999, and a prime witness, had been under constant pressure from the police to toe their version.

The judges further showered praise on Ms Ramani, calling her, ''the only brave person present in that party to muster courage to face the shooter while others claiming to be socialites did not have the courage to raise a little finger to apprehend the culprit whom Bina was chasing and shouting that he had shot Jessica.'' The recovery of a Tata Safari from Noida further helped the court hold Manu guilty. Manu's allegation of being falsely implicated under a political design didn't convince the court wondering as to why on earth every body would conspire against him. More so, when Manu had not been able to name the politican he considered to be behind the scheme.

Another nailing evidence against Manu was the recovery of two empty cartridges from the place of crime that matched with the mutilated lead bullet recovered from the skull of Jessica. The court said Manu could not produce either a licensed pistol or 25 rounds to prove the prosecution wrong.

A hearing on the quantum of sentence has been posted for December 20.

December 20th, 2006 (Wednesday): Delhi high court sentenced manu sharma to life imprisonment in jessica lall murder case.

Delhi high court also sentenced vikas yadav and tony gill to four years rigorous imprisonment.

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