Dec 16 gangrape: Verdict in juvenile’s case on July 25

New Delhi: A Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), trying the minor accused in the December 16 brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old girl here, today reserved its judgement for July 25.
 
The Board presided by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel reserved the verdict after counsel for the accused and the prosecution submitted their clarifications.
 
The juvenile accused in the case is being tried for the gangrape and brutal assault of the paramedic student in a moving bus here on the night of December 16, last year. The murder charge was slapped after the victim died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.
 
Besides the juvenile, the four adult accused–Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur–are being tried by a special fast track court.
 
Proceedings against key accused Ram Singh abated after his death on March 11 when he was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail here.
 
Parents of the gangrape victim were present outside the JJB today. Speaking to mediapersons, they sought death penalty for the juvenile accused, whom the police in its charge sheet had dubbed as the "most brutal" of all the six accused persons in the case.
 
According to a police official, the counsel for the juvenile accused submitted some clarifications related to the incident and also claimed that his client was innocent as he was "not present" in the bus on the night of December 16.
 
The official said that the prosecution too submitted its reply to the contentions of the accused' counsel.
 
He said that the judgement in another case related to robbery of a carpenter on the same night before the accused gangraped the girl has been kept in a sealed cover and will be pronounced later.
 
The other four accused are also being tried for robbing carpenter Ramadhar on the fateful night.
 
During the inquiry, the juvenile had denied all charges against him, claiming he was not a participant in the horrendous crime. 
 
The juvenile, an Uttar Pradesh native, had moved to Delhi when he was 11-years-old and had taken up menial jobs.
 
The case had sparked intense debate on anti-rape laws and whether the age of juvenile as per the law should be lowered.
 
During the trial, his counsel had contended that there was no medical evidence to connect him with the charges and no finger prints could be detected in the bus to show his complicity.
 
The defence counsel had claimed the juvenile had been implicated by the police.
 
He had also said that the victim's male friend, who is the complainant in the case, did not depose against him even before the JJB and alleged that Ramadhar, who is said to have identified him as one of the six accused in the bus, had deposed falsely at the behest of the police.
 
All the accused in the case have been charged with gangrape, murder, criminal conspiracy, unnatural sex, robbery, dacoity, besides other sections of the IPC.