Verdict on age test of rape accused on May 24

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IMPHAL, 16th May: Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Imphal East on Tuesday set aside its verdict on whether ossification test should be conducted on five among the six accused in the Phaknung gang-rape case, which took place on April 14.

Meanwhile, protesters launched agitations demanding that ossification test be conducted on five of the accused who are lodged in observation home for juveniles after claiming themselves to be children in conflict with law (CCL). It may be recalled that the prosecution counsel pleaded before the JJB on May 11 to send one among the six CCLs to POCSO special court as he was an adult while also seeking ossification test on the remaining five for documents produced as evidence of their age contain varying dates of birth.

The board set aside the bail application from the families of the accused and proceeded the age-determination hearing instead on the aforementioned day. The board set Tuesday as the last date of age-determination hearing to decide whether the test demanded by the prosecution should be conducted or not as it was not able to give a verdict during the last hearing. As decided by the board, the last hearing on age determination was conducted on Tuesday during which the prosecution counsel pressed the same demands made on May11.

The defence counsel presented a written argument before the board. Though the hearing on age-determination concluded, the Board decided to announce its decision of whether one CCL will be sent to POCSO special court by treating him as an adult and whether ossification test should be conducted on the remaining five others on May 24. The board also considered bail applications from four among the six accused submitted by family members seeking bails on April 26 for not disrupting their ongoing academic career.

However, the board disposed the applications by rejecting them on the ground that investigations are currently on. It may also be noted that the other child in conflict with law also submitted a different bail application on April 26. The board rejected the application by citing similar reason. Moreover, family of the said CCL had submitted an application again on May 11.

Meanwhile, members of ‘core committee against Phaknung Gang Rape’ and youths raised slogans demanding that ossification tests be performed on five accused, some 150 metres away from the board complex. They raised slogans seeking conclusion of the trial at the earliest and befitting punishment against those found guilty.

Source: The People’s Chronicle

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