Video-record statements of accused, orders Delhi district court
Sumit Saxena, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 17, 2010
A city court has ordered recording of evidence of an accused through video conferencing from the Tihar Jail premises, after he threatened two witnesses in the courtroom, in a robbery case, and in the presence of policemen. In an open court hearing, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said
that in order to protect witnesses in criminal cases, accused should not be brought to the court.
Video conferencing is the safest mode to record statements without any act of violence.
According to the prosecution ,Sonu, Mohammed Israj, Sachin and Bijender robbed Rs 2 lakh from Veer Bahadur and Sandeep at the Lawrence Road flyover in March 2006.
Veer Bahadur told the court when he was moving out of the court after his deposition, the accused Sonu sarcastically remarked at him, “Dedi Gawahi” (Have you recorded your statement?)
The court noted that both Bahadur and Sandeep are already under security cover, as Sonu had earlier threatened them inside the courtroom.
The judge said, “Keeping in view the repeated recalcitrant behaviour of the accused, it is important that he is not allowed to be in the proximity of the witnesses”.
The court has ordered the rest of the trial to be held via video conferencing.
Legal experts say that despite first-hand availability of video conferencing in all the district courts, funds are wasted in carting violent accused under heavy security cover to the courtroom.
“Video conferencing should become a regular practice in courts, as many acts of violence, including murders, have been committed inside the court complex,” said K.T.S. Tulsi, senior advocate.
Recently, key accused Ravi Kapoor, named in the Soumya Vishwanathan and Jigisha Ghosh murder case, had attacked the fellow accused with blades inside the courtroom. Former Delhi High court Judge R.S. Sodhi said,
“Courts should make video-conferencing a regular practice during the course of trial. Accused who intimidate witnesses should be avoided inside the courtroom.”